How Much Does It Cost to Install Solar Panels in the UK?

This article was updated in March 2020

 

Home with solar panels

In 2020 solar panels cost around £6,000 – £7,000 for the average sized residential home, this is over 60% cheaper compared to what they were in 2010. It means solar panels are now more affordable than ever. And that’s great news for homeowners!

Even though there’s never been a better time to invest in solar energy, solar panels are a considered purchase. It’s not like nipping out to the shop to buy a new pair of shoes. Although prices have dropped a lot, systems still cost several thousands of pounds. So it’s important to do your home work around not only which are the best solar panels, but also how long it could take to recoup your investment through energy savings and government payback. Use our solar PV calculator to find out how much payback you can expect.

To get the best solar panel deal you should compare multiple solar PV quotes from MCS certified (or equivalent) solar installers to ensure you get the best possible price and the right number of solar panels to meet your requirements.


 
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How much does it cost to install solar panels?

Solar panel systems come in different sizes that determine just how much electricity it’s able to generate. Simply put, the larger the system, the more electricity your home will benefit from. Find out just how much solar panels cost in the UK with the table below:

Solar System Size Average Cost of Solar Panels
1kW £1840
2kW £3680
3kW £5520
4kW £6040

To put these prices into context, the cost of solar panels for a 3 bedroom house will be around £5520 – £6040 as they’ll need to install a 3-4kW system to meet the higher electricity demands.

For most people though it’s not how much they are willing to pay for a solar PV system, but rather how much they can afford to pay. Now that systems are cheaper, solar panels have become more affordable, meaning more people can invest. Solar panels have become the most accessible of all renewable energy technologies.

Solar panel costs will depend on the size of the system you have installed, the installer fitting them, and the brand and quality of the panels themselves. For example, black monocrystalline silicon solar panels (the black ones) are slightly more expensive compared to polycrystalline silicon solar panels, which are characterised by their marbled blue appearance.

As we mentioned earlier, the price of solar panels has dropped pretty significantly. In fact, solar panel prices are 70% cheaper than in 2010. We’ve included a chart below to illustrate just how much prices have dropped for a typical 4kW system in the UK.

Cost to Install Solar Panels

Figures from DECC and https://greenbusinesswatch.co.uk/uk-domestic-solar-panel-costs-and-returns-2019

How many solar panels will I need?

It’s very important to get the right number of panels for your home as this is the starting point to find out how much a solar pv system might cost. The number of occupants in your household will influence the size of the system required as well as the size of your property.

Below is a list of the rough amount of roof space you might need to fit a solar PV system. These sizes are not strict guidelines and this is especially important to know as different manufacturers produce panels of slightly varying sizes. A skilled solar installer will be able to give you an estimate of the size and price of a solar PV system for your home. You can get free, no-obligation quotes through our simple form.

Solar system size Roof space needed (in square meters)
1kW 8+
2kW 12+
3kW 20+
4kW 25+

 
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Is it still possible to make money from solar panels?

The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme which entitled solar panel owners to earn money for the energy generated by their solar PV system unfortunately closed in March 2019. At the time, a replacement scheme hadn’t been lined up but now we have the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

Through the Smart Export Guarantee anyone generating their own electricity with a solar PV system – smaller than 5MW – can once again earn money. The scheme works differently to the FiT, in the sense that energy suppliers set their own tariffs – Compare Smart Export Guarantee Tariffs.

In addition to SEG payments and saving money on your energy bills, if you decide to move out of your home then by installing solar panels you will have added value to the property. This is because, not only do they require little maintenance, they also mean that the potential buyer will be able to benefit from lower energy bills.

What are the benefits of solar panels?

Deciding whether to invest in solar panels is a big decision to make so let’s take a look at what they’ll bring to your home to see if they’re worth it:

  • With energy bills set to double by 2020, taking the annual cost of an average household bill to over £2,500, take control of your energy bills by making the switch to solar energy.
  • The cost of solar panels are at their lowest point since 2010.
  • They’re an investment that will not only see you rely much less on your energy supplier and receive government payments, you’ll be adding value to your property so all in all while those initial costs may put you off at first, you could soon make it back and begin profiting.
  • Store excess energy generation during the day in a solar battery storage system for use after the sun has set – compare the Best Solar Batteries.

Find out if solar panels are the right choice for your home in Are Solar Panels Worth It?.

Best solar panel manufacturers?

The price of a solar PV system will depend on its size (kWp/kilowatt peak) and quality. The best solar panels are the ones that produce the highest percentage of usable electricity, in other words they have the highest conversion percentage rate.

As with most things, you get what you pay for. So ideally choose a brand which has a good reputation and is known for reliability and quality of build.

The best solar panels will depend on your requirements, not least the size of your roof and which way it is facing. Houses with smaller roofs need panels that produce the most power per square foot. If that’s the case, monocrystalline solar panels, although a bit more expensive than monocrystalline panels, would be the best option.

When it comes to choosing a manufacturer, stick to the popular brands. Well known solar panel manufacturers include:

Our guide to the best solar panels on the UK market can help you decide which brand you might want to choose for your solar installation.

How many people are having solar panels installed?

Residential solar panel installations saw a huge peak in the 2015/16 financial year, with 95,122 0-4kW solar systems installed. Installations have dropped off a bit since then but are beginning to rise again with 32,370 installed in 2018/19 compared to 19,708 the year before.

Number of Solar Installations in the UK

With prices at a much lower level than they were around 10 years ago, it’s no surprise that the number of installations is beginning to rise again. If you’re interested in generating your own renewable solar energy then you can get free quotes from up to 3 solar installers using Solar Guide. All you have to do is complete our simple online form.


 
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