Explore the pros and cons of solar panels for homeowners. Make informed decisions on renewable energy.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of solar panels for your home, empowering you with the knowledge to determine if solar panels are the right choice for your home.
When considering solar panels for your home, it's vital to weigh up both the pros and cons. We’ve listed each in the below table, simply click on each to see more information on that specific pro/con or keep on reading to gain an understanding on them all.
To see how solar panels could perform for you, we’d recommend using our solar panel calculator which takes into account your property’s characteristics and your energy usage to provide you with a 96% accurate estimation of solar energy production, costs and carbon savings.
Pros of Solar Panels
Cons of Solar Panels
Solar panels are increasingly being embraced across the UK, and one of the most compelling reasons is the promise of reduced electricity bills. As energy prices continue to surge, homeowners are seeking ways to shield themselves from these hikes. Installing solar panels is one of best ways to achieve this.
When you install a solar energy system in your home, your reliance on the electricity grid drops significantly as you are independently meeting some, if not all, of your electricity needs. The amount of cash you save ultimately depends on the size and efficiency of your energy system.
UK homeowners equipped with solar panels can witness a drop in their electricity bills of up to £800 a year. When this is paired with the smart export guarantee (SEG) scheme, total yearly savings can rise above £1,100. Furthermore, considering that sunlight – the primary resource needed for this energy – is free and abundant, it becomes evident how these savings are sustained over time.
Beyond cash savings, there’s also the peace of mind that solar panels offer. In a world where prices for almost everything else are rising, knowing that your energy costs are stable is invaluable. It's like having a fixed-rate mortgage in an era of rising interest rates.
The conversation around environmental degradation is more pressing than ever. Fossil fuels,
while being a dominant energy source, have wreaked havoc on our environment. In 2022 alone the UK emitted 417.1 million tonnes of environment destroying gas.
In the process of harnessing sunlight and converting it into electricity, we actively participate in mitigating the harm done by non-renewable energy sources. The average UK household switching to solar energy can prevent the release of 900kg of CO2 annually.
Beyond the initial installation, solar panels are synonymous with the term 'fit and forget.' Due to their streamlined and robust design, combined with the fact they have no moving parts, the need for maintenance is considerably low.
A bi-annual check and perhaps an occasional professional cleanup are generally sufficient to keep them in optimal working condition. This low maintenance ensures that ongoing costs remain minimal, making the investment even more appealing.
For additional maintenance information, our solar power maintenance and cleaning guide provides you with everything you need to know to keep your solar panels well-maintained.
Solar panels can help you become completely self-reliant, no longer having to pull energy from the grid.
By integrating solar panels into your home, you stand to gain:
Consistent Power Supply: Relying heavily on the grid can sometimes leave you vulnerable to unexpected outages. With solar panels, and especially if combined with storage options like batteries, your home enjoys a more stable power source.
Flexibility and Scalability: Solar panels offer homeowners an adaptive energy solution. If your energy requirements change, it's relatively straightforward to add more panels or enhance your system's performance. This adaptability means you're better positioned to manage your energy consumption and sidestep potential energy price surges in the future.
Equipping a home with solar panels can lead to an appreciation in its market value. According to a survey conducted in 2022, properties with solar panel systems can fetch prices up to 9.4% higher than those without.
This showcases that potential buyers are keenly aware of, and are prepared to invest in, the long-term financial and environmental advantages that solar installations present.
Additionally, as energy prices continue to soar through the roof, homes with solar solutions are perceived as more future-proof. These properties not only offer potential savings on monthly bills but also promise resilience against volatile energy markets, further enhancing their appeal and value in the eyes of prospective buyers.
Solar energy is paving the way for a cleaner tomorrow, but it's not without its own set of challenges. Here are some considerations you should factor in before making the switch.
The allure of solar panels is unquestionable, but the initial financial investment required can make some homeowners apprehensive. The cost of solar panels in the UK can differ depending on the size of the system and whether there’s a battery involved. A smaller 3kW system consisting of 8 to 10 panels (with no battery) would cost around £6,000 to £7,000. It's a significant figure, no doubt.
However, it's also worth considering the long-term savings against this upfront cost. A solar panel's lifespan spans several decades, and the return on investment becomes evident in the long run.
Note - for a personalised solar panel quote, and an estimate of cost savings, feel free to use our solar panel calculator.
For those finding the upfront cost burdensome, finance options are available. At Make My House Green, our collaboration with Plend provides fast approval financing options up to £15,000 for our customers.
Additionally, many high street banks in the UK offer "Home Improvement Loans", designed specifically for such endeavours. And whilst government grants might currently be off the table, it's crucial to remain updated. Policies change, and such subsidies may well be on the horizon.
The number of panels you can fit on your roof is directly proportional to the amount of electricity you can generate. For homes with smaller roof spaces, achieving total energy independence might be challenging. However, you can still generate enough to cover the majority of your energy needs. We’d recommend reading on guide on how many solar panels to you need to power your house - it will help you understand whether solar panels could cover your entire energy needs.
In addition to roof space, it’s also worth considering:
Roof Angle & Orientation: The angle and orientation of your roof play a crucial role. In the UK, a south-facing roof is ideal for solar panels. An angle of around 30 to 40 degrees is often recommended, but this can vary based on specific location and the solar panel design. If your roof faces east or west, you can still harness solar energy but you’d likely require panels on both sides of your roof.
Shadows and Obstructions: Trees, taller neighbouring buildings, or even chimneys can cast shadows on solar panels, reducing their efficiency. It's not just about having a space; it's about having a clear, unobstructed space.
The principle of solar energy is straightforward: convert sunlight into electricity. However, the efficiency of this conversion isn't, and probably never will be, 100%.
Conventional solar panels are mostly made of silicon, these silicon cells typically have an efficiency limit of around 29%. However, this limit is theoretical, solar panels currently convert 15% to 22% of the sunlight they receive, meaning a significant portion of the sunlight isn't utilised. A pivotal point to highlight is that while these conversion rates may seem low, the inexhaustibility of solar energy means there's no detrimental consequence to these unutilised percentages.
Research and development are continuously ongoing to improve efficiency, in 2010, the standard conversion rates of solar panels were 12% - 15%, significantly less than the rates we see today.
Whilst solar panels stand as a beacon of green energy, their manufacturing process tells a different story.
The primary raw materials used in their creation, such as glass and silicone, are in abundance and non-toxic to the environment. However, the mining process and the use of finite materials such as indium and gallium - continue to pose environmental threats.
There is good news however, it only takes two years of operation for your solar panels to neutralise the carbon emissions that were produced in their manufacture. From that point on, they're producing green energy, effectively diminishing their initial environmental debt with every sunray converted to electricity.
For more information about solar panel’s impact on the environment, check out our article on whether solar panels are actually green?
Having gained a clearer understanding of the pros and cons of solar panels, it's essential to evaluate whether they're a suitable choice for you. Our solar energy calculator can provide further clarity in this decision-making process.
We've developed the tool to help homeowners like you gauge the potential of solar energy for your property. Simply provide your postcode and a few other details about your home, and our tool calculates the amount of solar energy you could harness in an average year. Not only that, but we also translate this energy estimation into potential savings for your wallet.
Furthermore, our tool aids you in understanding the most fitting solar panel options for your specific needs. And if you decide to move forward? We have a network of trusted suppliers and installers, ensuring you get both quality and reliability with your investment.
Need for information? Consider reading our guide on whether solar panels are worth it in the UK?
Solar panels offer a variety of pros and cons, from significantly reducing electricity bills, and championing a cleaner environment, to enhancing property value and granting energy independence.
However, as with any significant investment, there are challenges to consider. The initial costs can be daunting, roof space limitations may present hurdles, and the conversion efficiency of solar panels, though improving, still has room for growth.