How much do solar panels cost?

How much do solar panels cost? It is a technology that more and more people are adopting in order to reduce energy bills and reduce the environmental impact of running a home.

But while they can save you money in the long run, solar panels come with costs for the panels themselves and their installation, and it’s important to be aware of what you can expect to pay. .

To help you budget, we’ve put together an expert guide to the cost of solar panels, whether you’re considering solar thermal versions as one type of heating for your home, or solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

How much do solar panels cost?

What you can expect in terms of solar panel costs will depend on the size of the system you install as well as the type. “Solar panel supply and installation costs vary, but you can consider paying anywhere between £5,000 to £8,000 for a photovoltaic (PV) system and £4,000 to £5,000 for a solar thermal system‘, say Checkatrade experts (opens in a new tab).

How much do photovoltaic solar panels cost?

Photovoltaic solar panels are used to generate electricity.

The capacity of the system will determine the cost of the solar photovoltaic panels. “Solar PV is typically sold by the kilowatt of installed capacity for domestic properties,” says Steve Alldritt, technical director of energy efficiency at City Plumbing. (opens in a new tab). “Generally the price, including fitting, is around £1,500 per kilowatt, so for 4kW systems owners can expect a cost of around £6,000.

“Historically, most homes in the UK did not exceed 4kW of rooftop capacity because the government’s feed-in tariff, a scheme which paid homeowners a subsidy for the electricity they produced, paid the rate highest on systems up to this size,” he explains.

“However, since 2019 when the program ended, we have started to see larger installations taking place. Typically, solar PV systems now range between 4kW and 6kW as homeowners seek to install additional panels to benefit from the extra electricity generated for their home. It should be kept in mind, however, that systems over 4kW require permission from their District Network Operator (DNO) in order to connect to the local grid, so always seek this permission before investing.

It might be a good strategy to go for a larger system. “Installation costs tend to be about the same regardless of how many panels need to be installed,” says Steve.

Keep in mind that there are factors that can increase costs. “Those considering PV should ensure their roof is structurally sound – it is worth considering the age of your roof before installing PV, as the system may need to be removed when the roof is replaced,” explains Steve. “Roof access should also be considered as this can affect the cost of installation.

“The house’s electrical system will also need to be sufficiently equipped with modern consumer units and circuit protection. More commonly needed in older properties, these necessary electrical upgrades can incur additional costs.

How much can you save with photovoltaic solar panels?

When deciding if the cost of solar panels is worth it, you’ll want to consider how much they’re likely to save you. If you live in London, for example, you might save between £170 and £415 per year without the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) (see below), according to the Energy Saving Trust (opens in a new tab) (IS).

The feed-in tariff (see above) closed to new applications in March 2019, but the SEG offers the possibility of being paid to export energy. “The feed-in tariff has been replaced by the smart export guarantee, where certain electricity providers will pay homeowners for any low-carbon electricity they export back to the national grid,” says Steve Alldritt. ‘The an average house can bring in £112 a year by the SEG.’

Therefore, when you combine the savings from generating your own electricity and paying for export to the grid, you could earn up to £527 per year. This means that it will take 10 to 15 years to recoup your initial investment, excluding additional wiring or roof upgrades.

How many photovoltaic solar panels do you need to make the project worthwhile?

To find out the possible savings benefits of the specific project for your home, use the calculator (opens in a new tab) from the east.

Keep in mind that going bigger can be better. “Larger systems have been shown to generate up to 4kWp, which is capable of providing the energy needed for a family of three or four,” says Jess Steele, heating expert at BestHeating. (opens in a new tab).

How much do solar thermal panels cost?

Solar thermal panels use the energy of the sun to heat water. As far as costs go, when considering installing these, it’s important to keep your existing setup in mind and know what type of boiler you have (or an alternative for heating hot water). “Over the past 30 years the UK boiler market has moved to a place where most homes use a combi boiler and don’t need a hot water tank,” says Steve Alldritt. “However, solar thermal requires a cylinder to store the heat generated, so the space where this should be installed is crucial.

“Not all cylinders are created equal either, so owners who have a cylinder installed will need to ensure it is solar compatible as this may require an upgrade as part of the installation. .”

As for the cost of solar thermal panels? “Usually with the installation and exchange of cylinders, owners look around £4,500 to install solar thermal to their property,” says Steve.

How much can you save with solar thermal panels?

The annual savings resulting from the installation of solar thermal panels vary depending on the type of fuel used in your existing system. A saving of £95 per year is possible if your system is gas, and £150 if it’s oilaccording to the EST.

There is currently no reimbursement system for generating your own heat with solar panels, as the government closed the renewable heat incentive to domestic applicants in March 2022. Therefore, one must at least 30 years so that the solar panels only pay for themselves thanks to the savings made.

How many solar thermal panels do you need to make the project worthwhile?

Seek advice from a certified installer accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Program (opens in a new tab) (MCS) when considering solar thermal. However, you should be aware that in the UK solar thermal panels will not provide all of your hot water.

“You will need to heat the water more with a boiler or immersion heater, especially during the winter months,” says EST. “In the summer it should provide around 90% of your hot water needs, dropping to around 25% in the winter.”

How many solar panels are needed to power a typical home?

The number of solar panels needed depends on the size of the house. “On average, a standard one-bedroom house should use six panels. If you have a three-bed house, you will need 10 panels. For a five-bedroom house, you would need 14 panels to make it worth it,” says Nathan Hyatt-Mitchell, heating engineer and solar panel installer. (opens in a new tab)who is on Rated People (opens in a new tab).

Are solar panels expensive to run and buy?

Solar panels are expensive to buy in the first place. However, the expense may be justified in the long run by savings on energy bills. However, the key to your calculations should be whether you plan to stay in your current home.

“Someone who is likely to move within the next decade is unlikely to recoup the costs of the initial down payment,” says Jess Steele.

Anyone who wants to stay in their home for at least 10 years should definitely consider the economic (and ecological) incentives of installing photovoltaic solar panels. Although solar thermal energy takes longer to pay for itself, it is still a good option for those looking for long-lasting home improvements to reduce their reliance on other fuel sources.