Scottish Government Grants For Solar Panels
Author: Charlie Clissitt
Published: Wednesday, 12 June 2019
DISCLAIMER: Our partners no longer take appointments for homeowners looking to benefit from the Feed-in Tariff, which concluded on 31st March 2019
Not many countries have taken to solar power quite like Scotland has. With the ambitious target of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, the Scots have recognised the huge potential of renewable energy, and are running with it.
There are currently more than 56,000 households across Scotland with solar PV systems. What’s more, the Solar Trade Association predicts that Scotland’s installed solar power capacity will reach a whopping 1.5 gigawatts (i.e. 1.5 billion watts) by 2030.
Fortunately, the Scottish government has made it very easy for Scots to get their hands on solar panels and join the ‘renewables revolution’. On this page, we’ll tell you all about the Home Energy Scotland Loan, along with the much-anticipated replacement for the Feed-in Tariff.
If you’d like to find out how much solar panels will cost you, simply fill in the form at the top of this page, and our trusted installers will be in touch.
What's on this page?
Do solar panels work in Scotland?
If you think that Scottish weather might not be conducive to generating solar power, think again.
Firstly, we should note that sunlight is not an absolute requirement for solar panels. Photovoltaic cells can still function without direct sunlight, and will still produce electricity on a cloudy day. It’s the daylight that’s essential.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a standard 3 kilowatt peak (kWp) solar PV system in Scotland generates about 2,300 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each year. This amounts to approximately 75% of a typical household’s electricity usage.
What’s more, Scotland has been no stranger to extremely sunny summers in recent years. A study by WWF Scotland found that, in May 2017, homes with solar panels generated more than 100% of typical household electricity needs in seven different cities, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dundee.
One year later, a summer heatwave broke Scottish solar power records in multiple places. For example, in June 2018, solar panels provided Aberdeen with 136% of its average household electricity demand, and provided Lerwick with 117%.
The future of solar power in Scotland is certainly a bright one.
Can you get government-funded solar panels?
Unfortunately, you can no longer receive a government grant for solar panels in Scotland, but you can still receive an interest-free loan.
Up until 2010, the Scottish government backed the Energy Savings Scotland Home Renewables Grant. This scheme awarded homeowners a generous sum of money for installing solar panels – if successful, applicants could receive up to 30% of the cost of installation (worth up to £4,000).
However, after 2010, the grant was scrapped and replaced with the Home Energy Scotland Loan.
The Home Energy Scotland Loan
If you’re living in Scotland and think it’s time your home switched to solar power, the Scottish government is happy to lend a financial hand. The Home Energy Scotland Loan is a scheme available to homeowners who want to make ‘energy improvements’ to their household. These improvements include:
• Heating systems, e.g. gas, oil, or LPG boilers
• Double glazing and secondary glazing
• Renewable energy systems, e.g. solar panels
• Energy storage systems, e.g. solar batteries
The maximum amount of money available for solar panel installation is £5,000, which is over 75% of the typical cost of a 3-4kWp solar PV system. The loan is completely interest-free, and is repayable across five years (if you borrow less than £5,000) or 10 years (if you borrow the full £5,000).
All homeowners in Scotland are allowed to apply, and each applicant’s credit rating is assessed to determine if they are eligible. Please note that successful applicants have to pay an administrative fee, which is 1.5% of the total amount being borrowed.
The Scottish government quite wisely suggests that you don’t start installing solar panels until you’ve officially received the loan offer in writing. If you are successful, you’ll be given up to six months to borrow the money and have the solar panels installed.
What about the Feed-in Tariff?
The Feed-in Tariff was an initiative set up by the UK government in 2010 that paid households for every kWh of electricity they generated via solar panels. Unfortunately, it concluded on 31st March 2019, and is no longer available. However, if you signed up for the scheme before it ended, you will still receive payments for the full duration of your contract (usually 20 years).
Why has it finished?
After dedicating nine years to residential solar power, the UK government decided that it wanted to focus on more large-scale, commercial projects. The loss of the tariff is obviously a shame, but the tumbling price of solar panels means that a government subsidy is far less necessary than it was a decade ago. That’s right: according to Green Business Watch, the average cost of solar panels has fallen by about 70% since 2010.
Nevertheless, it’s nice to get paid for the renewable energy you create – and thankfully, there’s a replacement scheme in the works.
The Smart Export Guarantee
The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is busy creating a new initiative called the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). This initiative is still under development, but should be up and running by the end of 2019.
With the SEG in place, energy suppliers will have to pay households for every kWh of unused solar-generated electricity that goes back to the grid. The exact rate is currently undetermined, but it’s likely that the government will leave it to be decided by market forces. In theory, the healthy competition between energy suppliers should provide homeowners with a decent price for their unused electricity. The Solar Trade Association believes that about 5-6p per kWh would be a fair market rate.
Some energy suppliers, including Octopus Energy, Bulb, and E.ON, have also set up their own replacements for the Feed-in Tariff.
Finding an installer
If the Home Energy Scotland Loan has ignited your ambitions and you’d like to start powering your home with the sun, the next step is finding out how much solar panels will cost you. Simply answer the question below, fill in the quick form, and our qualified installers will be in touch.