We are now starting to see a future where almost all our electricity in the UK comes from renewable energy sources like the wind, wave, and sun. It’s now cheaper to build and run wind and solar energy than it is gas. We’re making good progress, but we still have a long way to go before we fully power the UK with climate-friendly energy sources.
Solar panels are a great way to produce free electricity for your home or business, and the advances with solar technology combined with environmental concerns and the implementation of government incentives, have made home solar more accessible than ever before. But just how much do solar panels cost in the UK and what factors influence their price? In this article, we guide you through the key aspects that you should consider before making your final decision including:
The average cost of installing solar panels in the UK.
Before, sourcing quotes for solar panels, gather the following information from your current energy supplier to help you/your solar panel provider run the maths:
How much electricity you consume annually.
The price you are currently paying per unit of electricity used. Typically, this is around 30p per unit in the UK.
How much your standing charge is.
As an example, let’s assume that last year:
Total amount of energy used (kWh) x the unit cost of one kWh = price per kWh
4.8 kWh x 0.30 = £1.44 per kWh
To supply and install garden solar panels to generate and annual output of 2,410 kWh.
System size required: 2.4kW.
Total cost: £4,500 0% VAT
VAT. Annual savings: £691.00.
Time to break even: 5 years, 7 months.
To supply and install roof solar panels to generate and annual output of 5.1 kWh.
System size required: 5.1KW.
Total cost of panels:£8,500 0% VAT
This customer also opted for the supply and installation of a Givenergy All in One 13.5kWh battery with Gateway for house back up to store even more electrical energy. This was an additional £7,500.
Total cost of project: £16K 0% VAT.
Annual savings: £1,679.00.
Time to break even: 7 years, 5 months.
System size required: 18.48KW.
To supply and install roof solar panels to generate and annual output of 17,467 kWh.
Total cost of panels: £37K 0% VAT
This customer also opted for 6x 5.3 Sunsynk Battery @£15K and the installation of a Zappi 7 kWh EV charger @£1K.
This system is slightly unique in that the customer has 2x 8.8kW inverters which work in parallel. This means they will get a 16kW discharge (export) due to the large size of the system installed. A lot of homeowners get discouraged from installing solar as many installers state that the maximum export is 3.6kW – this is because anything greater than this requires consent from the DNO. At Tarven solar, we can apply for all of this on your behalf if needed – as in this example where we managed to get a 16kW export approved for the customer.
Total cost of project: £37,000 0% VAT.
Annual savings: £4,683.00.
Time to break even: 7 years.
Solar panels can vary in size and the right size for a project will depend on the size of property and individual electricity usage requirements. Generally speaking, the larger the solar panel system is, the higher is the installation cost. An average system size of 5kW will cost around £6-8,000 to install. It is also important to highlight that generally, the price per kW decreases the larger your system size is. Therefore, you will pay more initially but benefit from a greater saving overall.
The three most common types of solar panels used for domestic purposes are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. Monocrystalline panels have the highest efficiency – we sell a lot of monocrystalline panels from the Enphase and Sunsynk brands because of this reason, but it also comes at a higher cost. If your budget requires affordability, then polycrystalline may be the right type for you.
The type of inverter system used for a home solar project does have an impact on the overall cost of a power installation, but it might not directly affect the cost of the solar panels themselves. There are different types of inverters (the component that converts DC electricity to AC electricity) used in solar power systems, such as string inverters and microinverters. Each type has its own cost associated with it. Microinverters for example, tend to be more expensive on a per-unit basis than string inverters. Therefore, if a system requires microinverters, the overall cost of the inverter system will be higher.
The system design and complexity, efficiency features and longevity/maintenance requirements will also contribute to the inverter system used, and therefore impact installation costs.
Whether you are planning to install solar batteries or additional features like bird proofing your panels, it is best to combine them with installing the panels, so that you can decrease the installation cost. Again, solar batteries will mean a higher installation cost but when the panels capture abundant energy from the sun, unless you use it there and then, it is sent back to the grid for you to store for later use. This means you’ll enjoy free electricity even when the sun isn’t shining.
Another influencing solar panel cost factor is the ease of installation. It is necessary to consider the number of panels, the angling of the panels and the type, pitch and strength of the roof. For example, slate roofs are trickier to work around than plain tiles and a flat roof is generally more expensive than a pitched roof due to the panel incline needed.
A flat roof exposes panels to a lot of ambient light but limited direct sunlight whereas when solar panels are inclined and angled towards the sun, they can capture sunlight more effectively. Inclined panels receive sunlight more directly, especially during mornings and evenings when the sun is lower on the horizon. This maximises the amount of sunlight they can absorb, leading to higher energy production.
If you are opting for ground-solar, you will also need to think about the cost of groundworks needed, and if you opt for roof-mounted solar, you will need to consider any scaffold costs etc.
Luckily, at Tarven Solar, we take care of all of this for you, including groundworks and all certification such as building regulation certificate, NICEIC and MCS certificates, handover pack, and DNO notification. If you are thinking of installing solar panels yourself, remember that you will still need to hire a professional to certify your solar panel system if you would like to benefit from the Smart Export Guaranteed to earn money when you send energy back to the grid.
Yes, adding a solar battery storage system will increase the overall costs of your solar panel investment, but it can also mean that you get even more out of your solar panel system by using stored electricity when the sun isn’t shining.
Solar battery prices can range between £3,750.00 – £7,500 subject to VAT at the appropriate rate, depending on the battery type, lifespan, and quality. So, if you are keen to include an energy storage solution be prepared to pay a little more upfront.