Solar Panels in Scotland: Costs, Grants + Pros & Cons in 2024

Solar panels in Scotland

  • Solar panels can be very advantageous in Scotland, with an average 3kW to 4kW system breaking even in 8 to 9 years.
  • A system for the average 3-bedroom Scottish home can cost between £5,000 to £8,500, saving £440 to £660 annually.
  • Several grants can help subsidise solar panels, with schemes like the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan offering up to £9,000.

Taking advantage of solar energy in Scotland can be a great way to achieve energy independence. Solar panels in Scotland not only let you save on energy but also allow you to make back money by giving back to the grid. While the costs can range from £2,500 to £10,500 depending on your home energy needs, finding the right system for your home can save a lot of money and insulate consumers from fluctuating energy costs.

Let's explore the advantages, disadvantages, and typical solar panel costs in Scotland.

However, if you're looking for solar panels in the UK, you'll need an installer you can trust. Finding one can take days of research and calling up companies to assess their offers. If that sounds like too much work, let us take the wheel. All you need to do is fill out a 30-second form and we'll provide you with up to 4 free, non-binding quotes from trusted installers that we've personally vetted. Click the button below to get started.

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Are solar panels in Scotland worth it?

Solar panels can be a great addition to most homes in Scotland. The average home in Scotland uses 3,300 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually, requiring a 3kW to 4kW system. This means you can break even on solar panels in 8 to 9 years, especially since good solar panels can last a minimum of 25 years.

During this time solar panels can potentially generate between £440 and £660 for the average household. Additionally, while price caps keep costs down, they may not last forever. This would mean a massive jump in prices for the average consumer. Solar panels can help by being a ballast against exorbitant prices and even provide the ability to make money by giving back to the grid.

Granted, there are caveats to keep in mind if you want to make the most of your solar panel earnings in Scotland. For optimal sunlight, your home needs to have a south-facing roof (or an array that you can position) at a 30° to 50° angle. Similarly, some roofs such as wooden shingled or thatched ones are not good for solar installation.

They can definitely be worth it if you are eligible for one of the many grants and schemes to help offset the cost of solar panels. Thankfully, Scotland has many of these (which we discuss below) including the ECO4 scheme and the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan (closed for solar panels and solar energy storage solutions as of June 6 2024), both of which can allow for massive savings for low-income residents.

Is there enough sunlight in Scotland for solar panels?

Sunlight hours solar Scotland

While it is a common misconception that solar panels cannot work in Scotland, they operate perfectly fine. The main concern is about a lack of sunlight but solar panels can function even with low levels of sunlight as long as they have enough sunlight hours. Low-light conditions can still allow solar panels to gather some sunlight and energise your home.

Another concern is the occurrence of rain or snow. Generally, solar panels work fine in the Scottish winters. One potential issue is that too much snow could cover the panels and prevent them from working at their maximum power but this can easily be remedied by wiping them down once in a while. You should do this roughly every half a year anyway to maintain solar panel efficiency.

Light can penetrate through 5 to 8-centimetre layers (2 to 3 inches), so anything in excess of that would require cleaning and servicing. Additionally, rain and snow can be beneficial for solar panels in some instances. Rain can help keep solar panels clean, decreasing the need for maintenance. Similarly, the albedo effect, which causes snow to shine more light on solar panels, which can actually help increase their power generation.

What often matters more is the angle and direction of solar panels. In Scotland, you would need a 30° to 50° angle for your roof or solar array, ideally with a south-facing roof. This would help keep an optimal level of light capture throughout the year.

What is the cost of solar panels in Scotland in 2024?

So, how much are solar panels in Scotland? They generally range from £5,000 for a 2kW system to £13,000 for a 6kW system, but how many solar panels you need depends on household energy consumption. Below is a breakdown of what solar system you would need for each home size.

How much do solar panels cost in Scotland?
House size Solar system size System cost Annual savings Savings after 25 years Break even point (years)
Small (1-2 bedrooms) 2kW £2,500 – £3,500 £440 £11,000 7
Small (1-2 bedrooms) 3kW £4,500 – £5,500 £440 £11,000 9
Medium (2-3 bedrooms) 4kW £5,000 – £6,000 £660 £16,500 8
Medium (2-3 bedrooms) 5kW £7,500 – £8,500 £660 £16,500 10
Large (4-5 bedrooms) 6kW £9,500 – £10,500 £1,005 £27,500 10

In Scotland, solar panels can cost between £4,500 to £6,000 for the average home (3 bedrooms). Such a home will require a 3kW to 4kW solar system to meet its electricity needs and can break even in 8 to 9 years. This calculation assumes average electricity consumption in the UK is between 2,550kWh and 3,400kWh for a 3-bedroom house.

Some single-bedroom homes can accommodate their electricity needs with a 2kW system, requiring an even shorter break even point of 7 years. Generally, a 6kW solar system can manage most large houses but even more elaborate ones are available.

It is also worth considering adding the cost of solar batteries on top of your solar panel purchase. If you want to make the most of the energy you generate and use it at night, it is useful to buy one. The table below shows a breakdown of what solar panel system and solar battery sizes you would need along with the purchase costs altogether.

Solar battery costs in Scotland
Solar panel system Required solar battery size Solar battery cost Total cost including solar panels
2kW 4 – 5kWh £3,500 - £5,000 £6,000 - £8,500
3kW 6 – 7 kWh £5,000 – £8,000 £9,500 - £12,500
4kW 9 – 10 kWh £8,000 – £9,500 £13,000 - £15,500
5kW 11 – 12kWh £9,000 - £10,000 £16,500 - £18,500
6kW 13 – 14kWh £10,000+ £19,500 - £20,500

While solar batteries are optional, they can enhance savings and allow homes to operate off-grid completely. Another benefit is that they allow homeowners to charge batteries during off-peak hours for later use, enhancing savings. Additionally, when paired with a solar panel purchase, they are also subject to many of the various grants for sustainable energy, which can help lower expenses.

Numerous factors influence prices and every home has different needs or installation requirements. For a better estimate, you should contact multiple installers.

Finding the right installer usually takes days of research and comparing prices, after which you may still not have found the right company. Luckily, with our service, you can get the best deals from local installers by filling out an easy 30-second form. Click the button below to receive up to 4 free, non-binding quotes.

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Solar panel grants in Scotland

Solar panel grants scotland

While solar panels in Scotland cost a lot of money, they don't have to. There are numerous solar panel grants in Scotland which can help alleviate some of the costs of installation.

The Home Energy Scotland Grant  and Loan provided up to £9,000 towards solar panel installation. However, as of June 6 2024, it is no longer providing funding for solar panels and solar energy storage. If you applied before the scheme closed for solar energy solutions, your application will still be processed.

The ECO4 scheme is another option available all through the UK other than Northern Ireland. Meant to allow low-income households to replace inefficient heating systems, it also applies to the installation of solar panels. The eligibility criteria include:

  • Having a home with an inefficient heating system (within the D-G energy-efficiency band)
  • Owning your home and living in it or living in a private, rented accommodation
  • Receiving government benefits (e.g. child benefits or income support)

The 0% VAT scheme also applies in Scotland, allowing for price reductions on energy-efficient systems. Running until 2027, the scheme eliminates the VAT on solar panels, resulting in savings of up to £1,850 for solar panel purchases. The 0% VAT can also apply to solar battery purchases but only when bought alongside solar panels and not as a standalone system.

After installing your solar panels in Scotland, you can benefit from the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). With the SEG, energy companies will offer you export tariffs on surplus energy from your solar panels that you export to the National Grid. Resulting in you earning money on your solar panels. SEG rates depend on the energy provider you have, with the highest rate being around 27p per kWh.

We also recommend finding a reliable installer who can help you navigate the various solar panel grants in Scotland.

Pros and cons of solar panels in Scotland

Advantages and disadvantages of solar panels in Scotland

Pros:

  • Energy independence: Among the many benefits of solar power in Scotland, the main one is lower reliance on fossil fuels. Even with the energy price caps, Scottish residents pay an exorbitant amount in energy fees. Solar can help lighten the load.
  • Scottish grants for solar: Numerous grants specific to Scotland can help pay for solar installation.
  • Earning money: The Smart Export Guarantee allows Scottish residents to give energy back to the grid so they can make money in return. This can make solar panels more profitable over time.
  • Decreased carbon emissions: Lowering your carbon emissions can help out the environment and help keep Scotland clean.

Cons:

  • Potentially high purchase costs: Solar power can be expensive as an initial investment. However, grants and schemes available in Scotland can offset costs, so check your regional policies.
  • Certain roofs may be unsuitable: Wooden shingle roofs, thatched roofs, and steel roofs are less suitable for solar installation. Although these are less common in Scotland, this is worth keeping in mind.

Should you install solar panels in a Scottish home?

There are many reasons solar panels can be beneficial for Scottish homes. For solar panels in Scotland, prices can range from £4,500 to £6,000 for the average home while the potential savings on energy costs can be between £440 and £660 annually. With a break-even point of as little as 8 years, solar panels can last twice as long, allowing for savings to continue for many years to come.

Contributing to a more solar Scotland can benefit the environment and also allow you to make money back in the form of Smart Export Guarantee payments by giving back to the grid.

If you're interested in solar panel installation in Scotland, you will need a trusted professional. While they can be hard to come by, we can make finding the best ones far easier. Do away with the strenuous days of research and calling up companies and instead fill out an easy 30-second form. Click the button below to receive up to 4 free, non-binding quotes from reliable installers in your area.

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FAQ

  • Are solar panels worth it in Scotland?

Yes. Despite their initial costs, solar panels can allow for energy savings and independence from the fossil fuel grid. Moreover, Scottish residents can apply for numerous grants or loans to help with installation.

  • Do you need permission for solar panels in Scotland?

Unless you live in a conservation area, you probably do not need planning permission to install solar panels. Some areas may even help subsidise your solar installation under the right conditions.

  • Can you get free solar panels in Scotland?

You can potentially get free solar panels in Scotland with the help of grants and loans. While these are often means-tested and amounts can vary, they can cover the cost of a fairly high-power system.

  • Do solar panels work in Scotland in winter?

Yes. Solar panels work perfectly fine in winter. The only issue is the lack of sunlight hours but they can work through low-light conditions and even benefit from the rain or snow in certain ways.

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