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

This article was updated in August 2018

 

Home with solar panels on and sunflowers growing

In 2018 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 you really do need to do your home work. And that means getting multiple solar PV quotes from MCS 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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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.

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+

What are some of the best solar panel brands and 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:

At the end of the day, there isn’t really much to tell the big brands apart because all solar panels are made from much the same components and materials.


 
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How much are solar panels?

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 of solar PV systemsFigures from DECC and greenbusinesswatch.co.uk/uk-domestic-solar-panel-costs-and-returns-2010-2014

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 price
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.


 
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Is it still possible to make money from solar panels?

Even after all the government cut backs, you will eventually not only recoup your investment, but also begin to profit.
To receive payments for the electricity being generated by your solar panels, you have to apply for the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FiTs). The Feed-in Tariff rate is currently paying homeowners 4.14p/kWh as of April 2017.

solar calculatorPayments are tax-free, index-linked and last for 20 years. Furthermore, any electricity you produce but don’t use can be sold back to the National Grid. At the time of writing, you’ll earn an extra 5.03p/kWh for doing this. You can find out just how much you could be earning from FiTs and overall investment payback with our solar profit calculator.

In order to benefit from FiT payments you’ll need to act fast as the government has announced plans to close the scheme to new applicants from 1st April 2019. Make the most of these payments by investing in solar panels while they’re at their cheapest price since 2010.

It’s also worth noting that solar panels have to be fitted by an MCS solar installer to be eligible for the financial benefits of the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme. The product needs to be MCS accredited too otherwise you’ll lose out on lucrative FiT payments. Solar Guide can put you in touch with approved and rated solar professionals to provide you with free, no obligation solar panel quotes.

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. If you’re still receiving FiT payments when selling your home then they will get transferred to the new owner, an appealing prospect for anyone looking to buy a house.

So, Are Solar Panels Worth It?

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:

  • One of the biggest plus points of have solar panels is the FiT payments. As they’re ending in April 2019, you’ll be well served installing solar panels while you can still benefit from them as they can help you to make back even more than the initial installation costs.
  • 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 so you won’t be making such a big investment as you could have been to start with and you could be making those costs back in less time through FiT payments than you would have done previously.
  • 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.

 
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