How Much Do Solar Panels Cost In the UK?

The complete guide to solar panel costs in the UK, including expenses, savings & how our Solar Panel Calculator can help.

Toby
February 14, 2024
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In today's world, the shift towards renewable energy sources is more important than ever. Among these sustainable solutions, solar panels have emerged as a compelling choice for homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills. However, as you embark on this journey toward clean energy, understanding the costs associated with solar panels is crucial - afterall, the decision to install solar panels needs to make financial sense for it to be viable for you.

This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the costs of solar panels in the UK. We'll delve into various aspects, from the initial expense of the solar system itself to installation and long-term maintenance. By the end of this article, you'll have a clearer picture of what to expect when considering solar panels for your home.

How much do solar panels cost for a house in the UK?

A smaller solar panel system consisting of 10 panels and no battery would cost around £6,000-£7,000, whereas a much larger system consisting of 20 panels would cost around £8,000 - £9,000 (again, with no battery).

The total costs of having solar panels installed encompass several three key components:

1. The Solar Panel System Itself: This cost covers the photovoltaic (PV) panels, inverters, and other essential equipment that make up the solar power generation system.

2. Installation and Labour Costs: Properly installing solar panels requires skilled professionals who will ensure that the system functions optimally. Labour costs can vary depending on the complexity of the installation.

3. Ongoing Maintenance Costs: While solar panels are renowned for their durability and low maintenance needs, it's wise to consider occasional upkeep expenses to ensure they operate efficiently over the long term.

How much does the solar panel system cost?

The cost of a solar panel system can vary significantly depending on its size and type. Solar panels come in various sizes and are typically rated by their power output in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW). The larger the system, the more power it can generate. However, larger systems also come with higher upfront costs.

Here's a general guideline to give you an idea of the cost range:

- A small residential solar panel system, which might have a capacity of around 3kW, can cost anywhere from £6,000 to £7,000.

- A medium-sized system, around 4kW to 5kW, can range from £6,500 to £8,000.

- Larger systems, with capacities exceeding 6kW, can cost upwards of £8,000.

It's essential to note that these figures are approximate and can vary depending on factors like the quality of components, installation complexity, and location.

For a precise estimate of the cost of a solar panel system tailored to your specific needs and property, we recommend using our handy solar panel tool. This tool takes into account various factors about your house, including its location and roof characteristics, to provide you with an accurate cost estimate. With this information at your fingertips, you can make informed decisions about harnessing solar energy for your home.

How much does the solar panel installation cost?

Installation costs can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the installation, the size of the solar panel system, and the steepness of your roof. Typically, the cost of installing your panels will be included in the price of the panels themselves.

To get an accurate cost estimate for the installation of solar panels on your property, we recommend using our solar panel cost estimation tool.

Maintenance and Long-Term Costs

Regular maintenance is a crucial aspect of ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your solar panel system. While solar panels are generally low-maintenance, they still require periodic checks and cleaning to operate optimally.

By investing in solar panel maintenance, you can potentially extend the lifespan of your panels and maximise their energy production. Maintenance costs are relatively low, and can sometimes be nothing if you perform the tasks yourself. These include cleaning, checking for shading issues, inspecting electrical connections, and ensuring that the panels are secure.

Some homeowners choose to hire professional solar panel maintenance services, which can cost anywhere from £100 to £200 per year, depending on the size and complexity of the system.

Cost of Solar panels per watt

In the UK, the average cost of solar panels per watt of electricity produced typically ranges from £1 to £2. This cost represents the price you pay for each watt of solar capacity installed.

Please note that these figures are approximate and can vary based on factors like the type of solar panels used, the complexity of the installation, and regional variations in pricing. Generally, areas with higher living costs may have slightly higher installation prices.

Cost of different sized solar panel systems

Solar panel systems come in various sizes to meet different energy needs. The size of a solar panel system is typically measured in kilowatts (kW), and it influences both the installation cost and the amount of electricity generated.

Whilst many variables can change the cost of your solar panel installation, here's a rough breakdown of the expected costs and savings for different sized systems:

Note - these systems do not include batteries. Adding a battery to your system would increase the cost further. We’d recommend giving our solar panel batteries guide a read for more information.

Solar Panel System (no battery)Average CostNumber of PanelsEstimated Annual Savings3kW£6,000 - £7,0008 to 10 panels£600-£8004kW£6,500 - £8,00012 to 15 panels£700 - £9006kW£8,000 - £9,00017 to 20 panels£900 - £1,100

Please note that these cost estimates are approximate and can vary based on factors such as panel type, location, installation complexity, and available incentives.

Estimate the cost of solar panels with our tool

We've been teasing you with the promise of a nifty tool to help you calculate the cost of solar panels for your UK home. It's time to introduce you to MakeMyHouseGreen's solar energy estimation tool. This clever tool takes all the guesswork out of figuring out how much going solar will cost you and what you can expect to save.

Here's how it works:

1. Answer a Few Questions - We just need some basic information about your house. We'll ask you about your postcode, which direction your house faces, and how steep your roof is - a rough estimation is fine.

2. Let the Magic Happen - Once you've answered those simple questions, our tool gets to work. It calculates precisely how much energy you could harness from the sun over an average year. It doesn't just stop there; it translates that solar energy into cold, hard cash savings.

3. Tailored Solar Panel Options -  We won't leave you hanging with just numbers. Our tool goes the extra mile and presents you with personalised solar panel options that would suit your property like a glove. We take your unique circumstances into account to recommend the most fitting solutions.

4. Trusted Suppliers and Installers - Ready to take the plunge into solar savings? If you wish to proceed, we've got your back. We'll connect you with trusted suppliers and installers in your area who are as passionate about solar as we are. They'll make sure your transition to greener energy is smooth and hassle-free.

So, there you have it – a tool that demystifies solar panel costs and savings while guiding you toward the best solar solution for your UK home. No more guesswork, just data-driven decisions to help you harness the power of the sun.

Factors Influencing Solar Panel Costs

Now that you have a handle on the basics of solar panel costs, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of what can make those costs vary. In the UK, several factors play a role in determining the price tag of your solar panel system:

1. Panel Type: The type of solar panels you choose can significantly affect the cost. Monocrystalline panels tend to be more expensive but offer high efficiency, while polycrystalline panels are more budget-friendly but slightly less efficient.

Monocrystalline panels

Polycrystalline panelsCost per Watt£0.80 to £1.20£0.60 to £0.80Efficiency Rate~18-22%~15%

2. System Size: It's a simple equation – the larger your solar panel system, the more it's likely to cost. However, larger systems can also generate more electricity and provide greater savings in the long run.

3. Location: Where you live in the UK can influence solar panel costs. Solar installation prices can vary from region to region due to differences in labour costs. Installing solar panels in London will be more expensive than if you lived in Liverpool for example.

4. Installation Costs: The cost of labour and installation can vary based on the complexity of your roof, the ease of access, and any additional electrical work required. Always remember that professional installation is essential for safety and efficiency.

5. Available Incentives: Government incentives and subsidies can offset some of your solar panel costs. These incentives can include the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), and local grants. We’ll dive into these a little further down this article - skip to Government incentives and subsidies.

6. Energy Efficiency Upgrades: Some homeowners choose to bundle solar panel installation with other energy efficiency upgrades, such as better insulation or energy-efficient appliances. While this can increase your upfront costs, it can lead to more significant long-term savings on your energy bills.

7. Solar Battery Storage: If you opt for a solar battery storage system to store excess energy, it will add to your initial costs. However, it can enhance your energy independence and save you more money over time.

Understanding these factors and how they interplay can help you make informed decisions when it comes to solar panel costs in the UK. Keep them in mind as you consider investing into solar panels for your home.

How to reduce the cost of solar panels?

The costs of installing solar panels in the UK can be considered an investment in your home's sustainability and energy efficiency, but there are ways to manage and even reduce these costs. Here are some practical tips to help you get the most value for your money:

1. Choose the Right Panel Type - Consider your energy needs and budget when selecting solar panels. Monocrystalline panels tend to be more efficient but come at a higher cost. Polycrystalline panels offer a balance between efficiency and affordability, making them a popular choice. Thin-film panels are less efficient but can be a cost-effective option. Our Green Home Gurus can help you choose the best solar panel type for your home, simply book a call with them.

2. Optimise System Size - While larger solar panel systems generate more electricity, they also come with higher upfront costs. Carefully assess your energy consumption and choose a system size that meets your needs without overinvesting. Again, our handy tool can do this for you.

3. Explore Government Incentives - Take advantage of government incentives and subsidies available in the UK. Programs like the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) can provide financial benefits and shorten the payback period for your investment.

By implementing these strategies, you can make solar panel installation in the UK more cost-effective and maximise the return on your investment. Remember that solar panels not only reduce your energy bills but also contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Government Incentives and Subsidies

The UK government offers various incentives and subsidies to encourage the adoption of solar panels and promote renewable energy generation. Understanding these programs can help you assess the financial benefits of installing solar panels:

1. Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) - Introduced in January 2020, the SEG replaced the FiT as the primary scheme for paying solar panel owners for surplus electricity exported to the grid. Under the SEG, energy suppliers with over 150,000 customers are required to offer a tariff to purchase surplus electricity from solar panel owners. The rates offered may vary among suppliers, making it essential to shop around for the best deal.

2. Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) - While not specific to solar panels, the RHI is a government program that encourages the use of renewable heating systems, including solar thermal systems. The RHI provides financial incentives to homeowners who install eligible renewable heating technologies. Although solar thermal systems are less common in the UK than solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, this program may be relevant if you're interested in solar water heating.

3. Local Initiatives - Some local authorities and energy providers offer additional grants or incentives for renewable energy installations. These programs can vary significantly by region, so it's worth checking with your local authorities or energy company for any available schemes.

Financing Options

If you’d prefer to spread the cost of solar panels, you can consider a range of financing options:

1. Plend - We've partnered with Plend to offer our customers a fast and convenient financing solution. Plend provides loans of up to £15,000 at a representative APR of 8.99%. This financing option allows you to get your solar panels installed promptly while spreading the cost over manageable monthly payments. To learn more about this financing option, visit our Plend Financing page.

2. Home Improvement Loans - Another option to consider is taking out a home improvement loan from your bank. These loans are designed to fund renovations and home upgrades, making them suitable for solar panel installations. Interest rates and terms can vary, so it's essential to compare offers from different lenders to find the most favourable terms.

Before choosing a financing option, carefully evaluate your financial situation and long-term goals. Consider factors such as interest rates, loan terms, and the overall cost of financing. To explore financing options, including through our partner Plend, visit our Financing page.

How long before I break even on my investment?

Solar panel systems generally offer a payback period of 5 to 10 years, depending on factors such as system size, energy usage, and government incentives. On average, our customers are seeing payback periods of 7/8 years.

To get a more precise estimate for your specific circumstances, our tool can provide you with a rough annual Return on Investment (ROI) estimation as well as a breakeven time. This personalised calculation takes into account your location, energy consumption, system size, and available incentives, giving you a clearer picture of when your solar investment will start paying off.

Final Thoughts

As you consider the costs of solar panels, remember that they aren't just an expense but an investment in a greener and more sustainable future. By harnessing solar energy, you're not only saving on electricity bills but also contributing to a cleaner environment.

Explore our green guides for more helpful solar panels articles such as Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight? and Are Solar Panels Actually Worth it? Take the first step towards a brighter, cost-effective, and eco-friendly future with solar panels in the UK. Your journey to energy independence begins here.

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- How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

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