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The Complete Guide to Solar Panels in Manchester

Homes with solar panels in Manchester typically break even in 15.6 years

Solar panels slash the average Manchester home’s electricity bills by 65%

More than 42,000 homes have installed solar panels in Manchester so far


The cost of solar panels is plummeting, so this is an excellent time for anyone in Manchester who wants to cut their electricity bills for decades to come.

The average three-bedroom household in Manchester can save £505 per year with solar panels, which would enable you to break even in 15.6 years and receive completely free electricity for the next decade or two.

In this guide, we’ll explain how much solar panels cost in Manchester, how the Mancunian weather affects their output, and whether there are any government grants available to you.

If you want to buy your own panels, you can compare solar panel prices with our help. Just provide a few quick details, and our expert installers will be in touch with free quotes for you to compare.

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House with solar panels on the roof, against the sky

Are solar panels worth getting in Manchester?

Solar panels are definitely worth getting in Manchester.

The typical three-bedroom home in Manchester will reduce its electricity bills by 65% if it installs solar panels on its roof.

This means the average household can cut its spending on electricity by £505 per year.

As well as saving money every year, you’ll be able to break even in 15.6 years, on average – and with solar panels usually lasting at least 25 years, you can make a typical net profit of £4,764.

Going solar also enables you to be less dependent on the electricity grid, and if you get a solar battery too, you can even keep the lights on during a power cut. Ask your installer to add that capability, and you’ll be set.

And of course, your solar panels will help the climate and reduce pollution. In Manchester, solar panels typically save 0.45 tonnes of CO2 per year – plus multiple studies have shown that getting solar panels makes your neighbours more likely to go solar too.

How much do solar panels cost in Manchester?

Solar panels typically cost £786 per panel in Manchester, to buy and install.

This price will usually get you a 350-watt (W) solar panel. To get the 3.5 kWp system we recommend for the average three-bedroom home in Manchester, you’ll need 10 panels, for a total cost of £7,860.

A smaller home typically requires six panels – which will cost £4,716, on average – while a bigger house needing 14 panels will typically pay £11,005.

To find out how much you’ll pay in more detail, read our guide to solar panel costs.

Do solar panels work in Manchester weather?

Solar panels work very well in Manchester weather.

Mancunians enjoy slightly less sunshine than the average Brit, but there’s still more than enough for your solar panels to hugely reduce your electricity bills.

Manchester’s relatively mild climate even does you a favour by protecting your solar panels against overheating – the main reason for reduced solar output across the country.

And don’t worry about rain. Manchester does get more rain than most – even if its wet nature is exaggerated – but this isn’t a big obstacle to solar energy production.

Your system will keep generating electricity even when it’s pouring, and these downfalls even help clear your panels of dirt and debris, making them more effective.

How many people have solar panels in Manchester?

42,131 homes in Manchester have Microgeneration Certification Scheme-certified solar panels, according to the organisation.

Across the 10 boroughs, that means at least 3.45% of all Manchester homes have solar panels.

That’s just below the UK average of 5%, which makes sense in one of the country’s northernmost areas.

But since this tally only counts MCS-certified solar installations, the actual figure of solar homes in Manchester is almost certainly a lot higher.

Government grants for solar panels in Manchester

You can benefit from two government grants for solar panels in Manchester: the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme and the Home Upgrade Grant.

Here’s everything you need to know to work out if you’re eligible for either or both of these grants, and how to access them.

ECO4

The government’s ECO4 scheme legally obliges large energy suppliers to fund the installation of energy efficiency measures like solar panels in low-income and vulnerable households.

If you run your home’s heating system on electricity, you could qualify for free solar panels, as long as you fulfil one or more of these criteria:

  • Your household’s gross income is under £31,000 per year
  • You’ve been referred to ECO4 by your doctor, energy supplier, or local authority
  • You receive any of a list of specific government benefits

You may also be able to get free insulation through the ECO4 scheme, as your household has to be properly insulated before you can get free or subsidised solar panels.

To start benefiting from ECO4, just contact your energy supplier or local authority.

LA Flex

If you don’t qualify for ECO4 through any of the routes explained above, you could still be eligible for another part of ECO4: the Local Authority Flexible Eligibility initiative, also known as LA Flex.

LA Flex allows local authorities like the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to help low-income, vulnerable, and energy-inefficient households that don’t qualify for ECO4 through the benefits criteria.

A horribly high 46.1% of fuel-poor households fit this description, according to government data.

LA Flex can be a way for you to get largely subsidised or free solar panels, just like the main part of the ECO4 scheme.

In Manchester, LA Flex is managed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Get in touch to see if you’re eligible to get help from this national initiative, which has £500 million of funding to use per year.

Home Upgrade Grant

45 local authorities in England including Manchester City Council and Rochdale Borough Council can hand households grants of up to £10,000 for measures including solar panels.

Hundreds of millions of pounds have been allocated to the Home Upgrade Grant scheme, meaning it’s funded until March 2025, at least.

To qualify for a grant, your home must:

  • Not be connected to the gas grid
  • Earn a gross household income under £31,000 (usually)
  • Have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E, F, or G

These two Manchester councils have more than £13.5 million to hand out, between them, so if you think you fulfil the above criteria, we’d strongly recommend that you apply.

Roughly one-quarter of the grants given to households through the Home Upgrade Grant so far have been for solar panels.

Local authorities have covered 87% of the price of solar panels, so far – and for a lot of households, they cover the entire cost.

The scheme can also give you grants for double glazing, heating controls, heat pumps, insulation, and solar thermal panels.

Next steps

The next step is to analyse your annual electricity consumption and consider your roof size, then work out how many solar panels you need – and how much that would cut your energy bills.

You should then ask for multiple solar panel quotes, to ensure you get the best deal for your home.

We can help with that. You can kick-start this process with our free comparison tool. Just fill in a few details and our trusted suppliers will get in touch with free quotes.

Solar panels in Manchester: FAQs

It’s absolutely worth getting solar panels in Manchester.

Households that get an appropriate number of solar panels for their energy consumption can save 65% on their electricity bills, on average.

You’ll also typically break even after 15.6 years, leaving you with at least a decade to enjoy totally free electricity.

The UK government offers two main grants for solar panels: the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme and Home Upgrade Grant.

Both schemes give grants to low-income and vulnerable people in energy-inefficient homes.

If you think you may qualify, please get in touch with your local authority or energy supplier.

The average cost of installing solar panels on your home in the UK is £7,860 for a three-bedroom household.

That figure will typically get you a system of 10 panels that each produce 350 watts in Standard Test Conditions..

In the UK’s real-life conditions, this will be enough to cut your electricity bills by 70% per year, on average.

Written by:
josh jackman
Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past four years. His work has been displayed on the front page of the Financial Times, he's been interviewed by BBC One's Rip-Off Britain, and he regularly features in The Telegraph and on BBC Radio.
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