Solar panels

Is It Worth Getting Solar Panels in 2024?

Over the last few years, we’ve heard a lot about climate change and the importance of sustainability. And it’s no surprise. These are critical topics that we all need to be aware of and act upon. But what can you do to help?

Making your home more energy-efficient isn’t only ideal for the environment, but it brings a very pleasant advantage to your door, too: lower energy bills. A small amount of research into the topic will probably cause you to ask, “Is it worth getting solar panels?” The answer is yes, but it’s vital to ensure that you make the right choice for your home. 

To help you make an informed decision, let’s delve into the topic of solar panels in more detail. By the end, you should have all the information you need.


  • A solar panel system costs on average around £9000 with a battery and £7000 without for a three-bedroomed house in the UK.
  • Installing solar panels can bring huge savings. On average, electricity bills may be reduced by as much as 70%.
  • On average, it takes around 14.55 years to repay the cost of solar panels in the UK.
  • Solar panels aren’t only useful for reducing bills; they also reduce our overall reliance on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Solar panel efficiency depends on several factors, including shading, location, and the angle of the roof.
  • The cost of maintaining solar panels is relatively low, but this is a key step to ensure high-quality performance over the long term.

Financial Aspects of Solar Panels

You’re wondering is it worth getting solar panels, and while the benefits are certainly obvious, it’s vital to delve a little deeper. After all, there is an initial cost involved in solar panel installation. It’s important to remember that everyone’s situation is slightly different, so it’s difficult to give solid and exact figures. However, we can give estimates so you can understand the potential outlay you may need to make.

Initial Costs and Installation

Installing solar panels in your home is a big decision to make, and the first step is understanding whether it’s an affordable option for you. It goes without saying that solar panels are a great investment, but how much do they cost?

Average Costs

It’s important to remember that prices do vary, but let’s give you an idea of averages. For a three-bedroomed house in the UK, you’re looking at an average of £9000 including a battery. Without a solar battery, the average is around £7000. However, without a battery you won’t benefit quite as much from energy-efficiency savings. Then, if you choose to purchase one later down the line, the total cost will be higher. 

This price includes the installation of your solar panel system, the panels themselves, and everything you need to get started.

Installation Process

Installing a solar system for your home takes around two days to complete. First, scaffolding will be attached to your home. Then, roof anchors and the panel rails will be installed. The next step is mounting the panels themselves in the optimum position. Finally, the electrical system is set up, connecting the energy created by the panels to your home. 

As you can see, this isn’t an easy process, so it’s vital that you opt for professional installation from the start. This will yield greater results over time and ensure the safety and integrity of your home.

Financial Incentives and Grant

Do solar panels save money? The answer to that is undeniably yes! However, it’s not only because you’re effectively generating your own energy that keeps cash in your bank account. Solar panel grants are available, which can help reduce costs associated with installing solar panels. The government is actively encouraging more homeowners to adopt renewable energy sources into their homes, and these types of grants make it more affordable.

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

SEG, or the Smart Export Guarantee, is an initiative that enables homeowners to sell back electricity they generate to the national grid. Overall, this gives you another income stream while also ensuring that your own energy bills remain low. Currently, the best SEG rate available is 12p per kWh. 

When you consider that an average solar panel generates around 1.5-2.4 kWh daily. Over time, that’s a good return.

Government Grants

There are several government grants available, all looking to promote and encourage adoption of renewable energy sources. The most beneficial is the ECO4. This grant offers solar panels free of charge to eligible homeowners. Of course, this cuts out the initial cost of installing panels completely.

Return on Investment (ROI) and Payback Time

It goes without saying that you’re not going to invest in something without it paying you back in a relatively short amount of time. Ultimately, a solar power return on investment will be the determining factor on whether or not this is the right choice for you. 

Average Payback Time

While exact figures vary according to specific circumstances, the average time it takes for a homeowner to pay back the cost of installing solar panels is around 14.55 years. However, you should notice a difference in your energy bills long before that, in around a few months.

Long-term Savings

The most attractive reason​​ to install solar panels in your home is reduced energy bills. We all know just how costly these can be every month, so the chance to reduce them at all is something worth looking into carefully. 

Again, exact numbers vary, but installing solar panels can help to reduce your electricity bills by around 70%. That’s a huge saving and means that over the long-term, you’re keeping a lot of cash over time. While it may take several years to break even on the cost of installing solar panels, the investment is more than worth it over time.


Operational Efficiency and Performance

The performance and overall efficiency of residential solar systems vary depending on the type of panels, their location, and even the angle of the roof they’re installed on. To help you get the most out of your new renewable energy system, let’s take a look at some of the key factors that affect efficiency.

Types of Solar Panels

One aspect which significantly affects the efficiency of solar energy is the type of panel installed. These also vary according to cost. It’s a good idea to know about the different types so you can choose the one that suits your needs best, therefore making an informed choice.

Monocrystalline Panels

Let’s start with the most expensive type of solar panel, but the most efficient. Monocrystalline panels offer the highest efficiency level at around 20-23%. They are smaller, so they’re ideal for houses with less roof space, and the higher output level means greater savings on your energy bills. 

According to MCS, solar panel installations are on the rise in the UK, with more than 183,000 installations in 2023. Many of these were monocrystalline panels, and this trend shows just how popular renewable energy is becoming. 

Polycrystalline Panels

The next type of solar panel is polycrystalline. You’ll notice that a slight drop in efficiency means a slightly lower price and that is the case when you compare monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. These offer a 15-18% efficiency level and they’re slightly lower in cost. They need a little more roof space, but they are an excellent budget option. 

Thin-Film Panels

Thin-film panels are often used by larger buildings, so they’re not a popular choice for homes. However, it’s interesting to learn about the whole range. These types of panels are very lightweight; however, they offer the lowest efficiency level, at around 10-13%.

Factors Affecting Efficiency

It’s not only the type of panel that affects efficiency. There are other factors to take into account, too. Let’s explore some of the most pertinent things to consider, including the location of your home, roof angle, and potential shading issues.

Geographic Location

Solar panels absorb sunlight to create energy, so it stands to reason that if you’re located in a particularly sunny area, you’re going to generate a lot more electricity. That doesn’t mean that less sunny areas won’t be effective, but it does make a difference in terms of amount. 

For instance, North Scotland receives around 1080 hours of sunshine every year on average, compared to East Anglia, which enjoys around 1570 hours per year. That means East Anglian homes are going to generate more electricity than those in North Scotland.

Roof Angle and Orientation

The direction your roof faces and the angle of your roof can also affect the performance of your solar panels. Roofs that face a southerly direction receive more sunlight than others. Additionally, the best roof angle for optimal performance is 30-40 degrees.  

This is another reason why professional installation of solar panels is so important. During installation, a highly experienced professional will know how to position your panels to receive the optimal amount of sunlight. Therefore, you’ll generate more electricity.


It’s rare for a home to be free of any type of shade, but it’s not something to be too concerned about. If your rooftop is covered by trees or shaded by other buildings around it, it may reduce the efficiency of your solar panels. However, that doesn’t mean that renewable energy isn’t for you. You can opt for a solar panel system with optimisers that can help to remove some of the impact of shading. As a result, your panels will perform much better.

Environmental Impact

Solar panels don’t only save you money on your energy bills; they also do a lot to help the environment. The more people who opt for renewable energy sources, the less impact we have on the planet, reducing our carbon footprint. Let’s dig deeper into this interesting subject.

Carbon Footprint Reduction

Greenhouse gas emissions have a disastrous effect on the planet, particularly accelerating climate change. If more people switch to natural and renewable energy sources, our impact on the planet will reduce. Solar panels can make a huge difference; in fact, a standard solar panel system within a home can save a tonne of carbon dioxide every year. 

To put that into perspective, that’s the same as if you were to get into your car and drive for 3600 miles. Multiply that for every house that adopts renewable energy and you can understand the huge potential impact over the long-term.   

And the good news is that the overall cost of installing solar panels has dropped by almost 90% over the last ten years.

Renewable Energy Contribution

The more people who install solar panels, the more it raises awareness of just how beneficial they are. There are many misconceptions about solar panel use within a home, so it really comes down to information and raised awareness. Ultimately , the more clean energy generated, the less reliance we will have on fossil fuel as a society, and the greater our positive impact on the planet.

National Grid Impact

The adoption of solar energy isn’t going to completely eradicate the need for the National Grid. However, it can impact it in other ways. Excess solar energy can be sold to the National Grid, and this has two main benefits. 

Firstly, that solar energy can be distributed to those who don’t have a renewable energy source, therefore still keeping our fossil fuel usage low. Secondly, If you sell your excess energy to the National Grid, you get paid for it!

Practical Considerations and Maintenance

While the advantages of choosing solar panels are pretty clear, it’s important to consider other aspects too. In this case, we’re talking about things like maintenance and whether your roof is suitable to hold the panels. 

In this section, let’s look more closely at the practical considerations before making a final decision and the type of maintenance involved.

Roof Suitability

While the use of solar power is certainly encouraged, that doesn’t mean everyone is going to be able to use it. Some roofs just aren’t suitable and won’t be able to hold the panels from the get-go. Before you make a decision, it’s important to have your roof checked and find out whether it’s a realistic option.

Structural Integrity

Ideally, your roof should be 15 years old or less, which makes it strong enough to hold the weight of the panels. Older houses may not have the integrity to be able to support the tiles, therefore making them unsuitable. However, a professional will be able to assess your home and give you solid information with regard to this.

Space Requirements

We know that different solar panels require less space than others, but you need a specific amount of room on your roof in the first place. On average, a regular 4kW system will need a minimum of 29m². Anything less than that and you may not have the adequate amount of space to install the panels properly. 

Roof Angle

While most roof angles will benefit from solar technology, a 30-40 degree angle will give you the best results. Of course, you may not be sure about your roof angle and that is something a professional will be able to help you understand more about.

Maintenance Requirements

The good news is that modern solar panels don’t need a lot of maintenance to keep them ticking along nicely, but there is a little work to do. It’s best to have your panels checked once every two years, but if you notice any issues with them, perhaps a drop in efficiency, it’s time to call a technician. 

Additionally, there are a couple of other maintenance areas to consider.

Cleaning and Debris Removal

Just as you would regularly clear your guttering of leaves, you need to do the same for your solar panels. Over time, dust, debris, and old leaves may cling to your panels and make them slightly less effective than they could be. 

The good news is that Mother Nature tends to do most of the work here, as rain will give your panels a good clean. Even better news is that Soly solar panels are self-cleaning – which lowers your maintenance costs considerably. However, if you have a system other than Soly’s that is ground-mounted, you’ll need to clean those manually.

Inverter Replacement

The inverter is a very important part of your solar panel system, which converts the solar energy to usable energy. Because this part does a lot of work, it will need replacing every so often. 

The good news is that this isn’t a very regular occurrence and usually every 12 years on average. The cost of an inverter replacement is currently around £800. Of course, you can prolong the life of your inverter by checking it regularly.

Common Questions

Installing a solar power system in your home is a big decision, so it’s important to make sure all your questions are answered. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about solar energy systems: 

How long do solar panels last?

Generally speaking, you can expect your solar panels to work for around 25 years, sometimes more. Proper maintenance will ensure your solar panels continue to work optimally for as long as possible. From that number, you can see just how much of a valuable investment solar panels are for a household and how quickly the savings will accumulate over the long-term.

Do I need planning permission?

Most likely, no. Listed buildings and buildings that are within conservation areas will need planning permission in most cases, but the majority of regular homes won’t. However, just to tick all the boxes and make sure you don’t run into trouble later, a quick call to your local planning office will give you the reassurance you need.

Can solar panels work during cloudy days?

This is one of the most common questions about solar panels, and considering the fact that these panels absorb sunlight, it’s unsurprising. The good news is that, yes, they will work during cloudy days, but you’ll always get more output when the sun is shining. 

Technology has advanced a lot since solar panels were first brought onto the market. These days, the best panels still work extremely well in all conditions.

Learnings Recap

We’ve covered a great deal here, and you’ve learned a lot about solar panels. To help make your decision less overwhelming, let’s quickly go over the main points to remember: 

  • Solar panels can not only reduce your energy bills but also go a long way to helping the planet and reducing carbon emissions. 
  • On average, a solar panel system for a three-bedroom home in the UK costs around £9000 with a battery and £7000 without. 
  • A solar electricity system is a long-term investment and can reduce electricity bills by as much as 70%.
  • While there is an initial cost to install solar panels, the average home will break even in around 14.55 years.  
  • There are several factors that can affect how well solar panels work, including the location of your home, shading, and the angle of the roof. 
  • The best solar panels still need to be maintained to ensure their efficiency, but this is relatively minimal for homeowners. 

Final Thoughts

Everyone wants to save money, but the opportunity to do that over the long-term and do your bit to benefit the planet is quite an opportunity. Despite that, deciding to install solar panels is something you need to think about carefully, especially in relation to the cost and efficiency. In the end, an informed decision is always best. 

At Soly Energy, we understand how overwhelming it can be to make such a decision, and we’re on hand to help you every step of the way. We can answer your questions, create a personalised plan for you, and ensure that you receive the most competitive pricing available.   

So, if you’re keen to save money and do your bit to help the environment, call us today and get started on your energy-saving journey.

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