How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels In The Uk
In 2021 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 thats great news for homeowners!
Even though theres never been a better time to invest in solar energy, solar panels are a considered purchase. Its 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 its 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 solar installers to ensure you get the best possible price and the right number of solar panels to meet your requirements.
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.
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.
Advantages Of Rooftop Solar Systems
Rooftop solar is an excellent option for smaller properties that dont have land to spare for a ground mount system. Roof designs utilize space that usually goes unoccupied, so theres no worry over losing active areas on your property. Ground mounts on the other hand, might take up land that could be used for recreational activities. But the distant placement of rooftop solar also prevents the system from enduring any additional direct damage such as an impact from sports equipment, or even debris like rocks and sticks that become dislodged during lawn maintenance. Solar panels can withstand hail the size of a golf ball striking the glass at 50mph but its important to reduce the risk of damage as much as you can.
There is also less financial cost with a rooftop array. While both types of systems require a supportive framework, ground mounts call for some extra landscaping. Ground processes include digging the holes for the metal supports, the trenching for the wire, and stringing the wire a greater distance from the building in relation to a rooftop array, which is mounted directly over the powers destination goal. So the cost of a ground mount is generally a little higher and should be taken into consideration.
Ground Mounted Solar Installation: Planning Permission
Are planning permissions for ground mount panels easily accessible? The short answer: it depends. It is determined by your state legislation, local licensing councils and administration licenses, and your region or countys governance rules.
In many states, the government preserves your right to place solar on your property. Heres a helpful database that includes incentives and rebates by each state. This helps because obtaining permissions and incentives can help promote the expansion of solar energy. The state registration can also appropriately balance funds to other development priorities in the community.
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Solar Panel Cost For A 2500 Sqft Home
The cost range of installing solar panels for a 2,500 sq.ft. home ranges from $18,000 to $55,000. Many different factors determine the number of panels and cost. Homes this size require more panels than smaller homes even for basic needs. If you add in any major electrical systems, such as HVAC, your costs will be higher. If you want to reduce your dependency on the grid by a significant amount, your costs will be higher as well. If you have relatively low energy needs, your costs could be even lower than the average.
Pole Mount Solar System
As the name states, a complete PV array situated on a single, tall pole is known as a pole mount solar system. Not as common at private residences as standard ground mount systems, you may spot them on roadsides, powering electronic traffic signs.
One of the major advantages of pole mount solar systems over fixed versions is that there is plenty of space underneath where animals may seek shade or shelter.
So, if you have a few acres or more, a pole mount solar system dotting the landscape is compatible with grazing animals at the same time that youre capturing the suns renewable energy. It falls on your land to power your home and other buildings scattered over your property. You could even grow food in some places around them.
Another important consideration with pole mount solar arrays is that they are perfectly suited to be integrated with sun-tracking systems. The panels move as the sun traverses the sky, either daily and/or annually. Their sole objective is to allow your PV modules to seize as much radiant energy as possible all the time .
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Do Solar Batteries Affect The Installation Costs
Adding a solar battery storage system will inevitably increase the overall costs of your solar panel investment, but it can also mean that you get even more out of your solar panels by using stored electricity when the sun has gone down.
The average prices for batteries can range between £1,200 and £6,000, depending on the battery type, lifespan, and quality. So, if you want to include a storage solution be prepared to pay more up-front.
Comparing Roof Mount To Ground Mount Solar Panels
Both roof and ground mounted solar panels perform well and today are collectively generating a spectacular percentage of the worlds electrical power. There are some advantages to using a ground mount solar panels for some locations and usage purposes, for example:
- Ground mount solar panels can be installed at almost any location on your property that has enough sunlight and available space.
Roof mount solar panels limit installation to specific areas, as necessary to fit roof configurations and to comply with safety regulations and the architecture of the roof.
- Ground mount versions can be placed with as much space between panels as needed for easy access, to make any needed adjustments, repairs, or perform ground maintenance.
Roof mounted panels often are installed with necessarily very little space remaining for walking around to perform roof maintenance, requiring removal of solar panels to make repairs, etc.
- Ground mounting allows mounting high enough above the ground to allow abundant airflow under the panels, which keeps them cooler and causes them to convert energy more efficiently.
Roof mount panels in solar energy systems are often somewhat less efficient, due to less airflow.
- Ground mount solar panels offer the benefits of an expandable solar power system, enabling owners to multiply the amount of energy they produce on their properties.
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Leasing Vs Buying Solar Panels
Solar leasing has become relatively popular as more people hope to save on their energy bills without having to pay a huge amount of money to purchase a solar panel system. However, leasing and buying both have pros and cons. You often pay more over time for solar leasing, with costs of between $50 and $250 a month. This makes the most sense if you have higher-than-average energy bills. This could be due to higher electricity costs in your area or because you use a lot of electric-based appliances, such as an HVAC system.
With leasing, monitoring and maintenance are included. This may give you peace of mind. With owning, you get a full return on your investment within 10 years. This can actually save you more money long-term than it would have with leasing.
Final Thoughts On Ground
Ground-mounted solar panels can provide a number of advantages over standard rooftop panels. The extra energy they’re able to produce can make them well worth the price. Do some research on your own, and talk to your local solar installer to find out how ground-mounted solar panels can best help you meet your home’s energy needs.
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Connecting To The Grid
Most solar kits are designed for off-grid systems, which wouldn’t demand as much energy as the average home, such as tiny houses or sheds. A typical off-grid PV system costs about $2.50 per watt.
Grid-tied packages range from $2.00 to $3.50 per watt. The grid can be very useful, providing electricity at night or in times of low sunlight. Being connected requires more components, such as meters and safety equipment. You will need to consult your local utility company about regulations and hire a licensed electrical contractor to connect you.
Will You Need To Expand Your System
If you dont plan on living off-grid, a rooftop system will probably be more than enough for your energy needs. However, if you are planning to go off-grid, the ground mount will allow you to add more panels as your energy needs change over time and you will get the benefit of a built-in tilt that can face towards the sun more easily than your roof.
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How Much Are You Looking To Spend Upfront
A ground-mount racking system requires more labor and parts to install it. You may need to partner with a contractor to get the job done, and the permitting process will be lengthier and more expensive.
But consider this: once the panels are installed, the upfront cost will be offset down the line by a more efficient energy output. Theres also less cost and hassle involved if you have to remove the panels for re-roofing.
Youll shell out a bit more cash at the start, but the effort will pay for itself over time.
Reduce Solar Panel Costs With Seg Payments
In the UK, you can reduce your solar panel costs even more by making use of solar panel grants, like the Smart Export Guarantee . Through the SEG, you can earn money for exporting surplus solar power that your panels have generated back to the national grid.
The tariffs for exported solar energy can vary from supplier to supplier, but a good rate is 4-6p/kWh.
SEG generators that are seeking further guidance, you can read this guide on Ofgem’s website.
If you have a 3kW system installed, you can earn £75 per year through the SEG. With a 4kW system, you can expect annual earnings of £100, and with a 5kW system you can earn £120 per year.
Before the SEG came into play, the Feed in Tariff was the main solar panel grant available. Those that are already registered under the FIT can continue to receive payments, but the FIT ended in 2019, and no new applications are being accepted.
Watch our video below to understand what funding options are currently available for homes looking to install solar panels:
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How Does It Look Mounted
What many people dont understand is that there are a lot of different ways to mount solar panels. Therefore, it is not impossible to say that there is one, precise way. Despite all of these differences, we can see that the two systems have established themselves as the most prominent ones. Lets take a look at these two.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost
How much do solar panels cost on their own? How much does it cost to install solar panels? Several factors determine solar panel cost with installation. Solar panel cost itself varies from region to region and from project to project. Different manufacturers have different types of panels, using different technologies with different efficiencies, all of which affect pricing. Installation costs also vary for a number of reasons. Is it aresidentialor acommercial installation? If you talk to multiple installers like you should, there will be multiple price points for a full system installation. There are good reasons for this however. Different installers have different preferences on all the items underneath the panels that customers never see. These racking, mounting and electrical wiring choices affect system performance and solar panel cost.
Solar tax creditsalso vary and can affect system pricing a lot. Furthermore, residential & commercial projects have a wide range of electricity bills that customers are trying to offset, so it is always recommended to look at these projects on a case by case basis.
Why Do Similar Sized Solar Panel Systems Differ in Cost?
There are many reasons why two similarly sized systems could end up costing different. Some of the things that may affect Solar PV system cost are:
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Rooftop Vs Ground Mount Solar
Only around 3% of home solar systems are installed on ground mounts. Most homeowners go with a roof mount, and its probably the best choice for you too.
However, there are some cases where a ground mount is the better option. For example, if your roof is old but you want solar installed soon a ground mount can mean not having your solar installation delayed by a roof replacement project.
Hereâs a summary of the pros and cons of ground mounted solar:
As you can see, the list of pros is longer than the cons, making it seem at first that ground mounted is the better way to go. However, this doesnt reflect the fact that the cost differential can be steep, putting ground mounted solar out of reach.
In spite of that cost, its possible that the pros will, over the estimated 25 year lifespan of your system, result in a net cost savings over roof mounted panels.
Heres an in-depth explanation of the pros and cons.
Is The Smartflower Worth It
The answer to this question depends on what your goals are for your homes solar energy system. If you care about design and ease of use more than cost-effectiveness, and also do not need to cover all of your energy needs with one system, then the SmartFlower solar panel system can be a good option for you.
Alternatively, a rooftop or traditional ground-mounted solar panel system will be much more affordable and practical for most consumers. You can go over all of these details and more with one of our personal energy advisors today!
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Ground Mount Vs Roof Mount Installations
To compare the predominant methods of mounting PV, lets take a look at the pros and cons of ground mounts compared to rooftop.
Benefits of ground mounts
- A rooftop system is restricted to the size, angle and orientation of the existing roof, while ground-based offers much more flexibility to construct an optimised, bigger system.
- Some roofs may not be able to take the weight or fixings required by a solar system.
- Option of using a tracker to increase generation.
- Easy access for cleaning and maintenance.
- More ventilation around the panels than on a rooftop, which means greater efficiency.
- Easier to extend the system at a later date if your energy needs change.
Drawbacks of ground mounts
- Takes up land that could otherwise be used , however the panels can be raised higher to utilise space below for wildlife or grazing.
- Harder to find open land with no shading, restricting most usage to countryside or farms.
- Components are more vulnerable to theft than those on a rooftop.
- More labour and materials are needed to install, meaning a higher upfront cost.
- Rooftop panels protect part of the roof from weather and degradation, and add a layer of insulation.
Should I Lease Or Finance My Solar Panels To Save Money
While leasing or financing your solar panels is an extremely popular option, many pros advise against going this route. “Avoid doing a lease,” says Mauldin. Over time, you’ll end up paying significantly more for your solar energy system, but you won’t actually own anything. It also makes selling the house more complicated: Your new buyers will need to take over the solar lease.
Be wary of financing, too. Make sure to research your lender and review the financing plan with a fine-toothed comb. Consider credit unions and local lenders, and be sure to ask if they’ll put a lien on your home. That can make refinancing hard.
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How Many Solar Panels Will You Need
To know how many solar panels you will need, you will want to determine how much electricity you use in your home and the solar panel types installed.
The average house in the United States uses about 900 kilowatt hours a monthroughly 11,000 kWh a year. You can easily calculate your actual usage by looking back at your electricity bills. As a general rule of thumb
- A 3-kWh solar panel system will generate about 3,600 kWh 4,800 kWh per year.
- A 5-kWh system produces about 6,000 8,000 kWh per year.
- A 10-kWh system can produce about 12,000 kWh 16,000 kWh per year.
Depending on the size of the system, the solar panels cost would be between $4,000 and $16,000. Add in another $3,000 to $10,000 for other necessary components, such as racks for the panels, wiring, solar inverter costs, and the total solar panel installation cost would now be closer to $20,000.
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