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Solar Panel Costs in the UK: The Ultimate 2024 Guide

The solar industry in the United Kingdom has evolved significantly in recent years. The UK's commitment to renewable energy and the transition to a low-carbon economy has been a driving force. Government initiatives, including favourable feed-in tariffs and incentives, have encouraged more homeowners to consider solar power. New technology and economies of scale have contributed to a gradual reduction in the cost of solar panels, making them more accessible to consumers. In this article, we explore the cost of solar panels in 2024 so you can decide if it’s a viable option for you.

Investing in solar panels is a great way for homeowners and businesses to reduce their energy bills and do their part to support the environment by choosing renewable energy. If you’re like most, you probably have a lot of questions about the costs of solar energy. From the costs of the panels and installation, to how government incentives can make solar more affordable for your home or business.

Here we’re going to cover every detail about solar panel costs in the UK. You’ll be able to weigh up the cost and benefits to determine what is best for your needs.

TL;DR - Key Takeaways

Don’t have time to read the whole guide? Here are the key takeaways:

  • While the cost of grid energy increases, solar energy has become more affordable.
  • Solar panel installation for the average three-bedroom home hovers around £7,000
  • If the amount of installation seems cost-prohibitive, government grants and schemes can help to either partially or completely offset the costs. 
  • Most homeowners enjoy a short payback period of only 7 to 9 years before their long-term savings kick in. 
  • There are a number of steps you can take to maximise the benefits, including regular maintenance.
  • Warranties are available to cover the cost of repairs for 10 to 25 years. 
  • In addition to the cost-saving benefits, solar panels reduce your carbon footprint and help to support your local economy.

Initial Costs and Breakdown

Making the investment in solar panels can feel a bit daunting, especially without a framework for how much they cost. We frequently hear information on how much money can be saved with solar panels, but there’s little information about the upfront and ongoing costs associated with it. 

To help you better understand solar panel costs (UK), let’s start with the basics. There are three main types of solar panels – monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Each has its advantages and disadvantages based on your needs. This includes efficiency and cost. 

When you’ve decided it’s time to install solar panels, these are important details to consider. 

The cost of solar panels varies depending on the type. There are differences in material and efficiency that factor into the cost. First, let’s dive into the three main types of panels and discuss their differences. Then, we’ll break down the cost of each before moving on to additional cost factors to consider, such as installation and battery or inverter costs. 

Average Costs

As of the beginning of 2024, the UK’s solar capacity stood at 15.7 GW, and this is a number that is targeted to grow significantly by 2035. The UK is on track to reach net zero carbon by 2050, and the widespread adoption of solar energy is part of this. 

Understanding the costs associated with solar panels and installation is an important factor for homeowners and businesses who are interested in moving toward more sustainable energy usage. 

Here’s a breakdown of the average cost for each type of solar panel. Keep in mind that these are just averages and that a personalised quote will provide you with the most current and accurate pricing information. 

The most important factor, outside of the type of solar panel, is the size of the home when considering pricing for residential structures. The general idea is that larger homes, with more bedrooms, consume more energy. This means more panels are necessary for proper efficiency. 

For a three-bedroom house in the UK, a 3.5 kWp system with ten solar panels will cost approximately £7,000. In general, you can subtract £500-£1,000 for each bedroom less than three, and add these same amounts for each bedroom more than three. 

While we recognize that this isn’t always the case, we are assuming that homes with more bedrooms will have a larger footprint and more people living in them to use more energy.

Installation Costs

In addition to the price of the panels, there are also installation and mounting costs to consider. The cost of installation will depend on several factors, including the number of panels being installed, and how complex the installation is. For example, does your home have a steep or complex roof that may make installation and mounting more of a challenge?

Labour Costs

Labour is added as a separate component to solar panel costs (UK). The labour pricing structure is calculated based on the number of installers needed times the number of days required to finish the job. 

For example, average labour costs range from £300 to £500 per person, per day. Complex or challenging roof layouts may increase labour costs. For example, if your roof is old and in need of repairs this can present challenges to installation. Roofs that are steeply sloped may be complicated depending on the direction they are facing due to how they can create shadows that interfere with solar absorption.

If you discover that the cost of installation is more than you anticipated, there are solar panel grants that may be able to cover some of the costs. 

Mounting Systems

The type of mounting system used is factored into the overall costs of solar panel installation. In general, the mounting systems, along with scaffolding, account for 10% to 20% of the total cost of solar panel installation. 

As with the other factors that influence cost, the type of mounting system used will play a role in the final bill for your solar panels. Mounting systems are critically important for the effectiveness and longevity of solar panels, as well as for protecting the structure of your home. 

As an example, mounting solar panels on a flat roof poses a challenge due to the weight distribution on the roof. In this case, a racking or elevated mounting system may be used to evenly distribute the weight and avoid compromising the integrity of the roof. 

On an adequately sloped roof, railed mounting structures are commonly used but rail-less mounting that uses clamps and screws is becoming more popular.

Types of Panels

As mentioned, the three main types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film. When pricing solar panels, you’ll notice that there’s a direct relationship between efficiency and costs – the more efficient the panel, the more costly the initial installation. 

However, it’s important to consider the long-term value of higher-efficiency solar panels. They may cost more at the onset, but the long-term return on your investment is higher. 

Monocrystalline Panels

Also called single crystalline panels or mono panels, monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient option that’s currently available. On average, we see monocrystalline panels converting 15% to 20% of sunlight into electricity. However, there are some panels that are capable of efficiency rates as high as 22%. 

Because monocrystalline panels are so efficient, they require less space. This makes them an ideal choice for homeowners with limited space but who want to generate the most solar energy possible with the space they have. These solar panels are known for their durability, with an average lifespan of about twenty-five years. 

Monocrystalline panels also have a traditional appearance with black photovoltaic cells. Their appearance is often preferred by many homeowners as the size and colour are less likely to stand out. 

The only downside of monocrystalline panels is the cost. They are by far the most expensive solar panel option, costing an average of £1 per watt.

Polycrystalline Panels

When comparing solar panel costs in the UK, it’s important to weigh up efficiency vs costs, while considering your energy needs. For many, polycrystalline panels are the perfect middle ground. 

Polycrystalline panels are slightly less efficient than monocrystalline, averaging 13% to 16% efficiency. One thing to consider when choosing solar panels is that efficiency becomes most important when you’re working with limited space. 

For example, a home with a smaller footprint and roof space will require more highly efficient panels. Homes with a larger footprint can take advantage of the cost savings associated with slightly less efficient options, like polycrystalline. 

On average, polycrystalline panels cost about £0.90 per watt, which may seem only slightly cheaper than monocrystalline, but the cost savings can add up. A downside of polycrystalline for some homeowners is their size and colour. They require a larger surface area for sufficient output and have a blue tone, which is off-putting to some homeowners. 

Thin-Film Panels

The least expensive of solar panels, thin-film panels are not built from individual solar cells, but rather layers of photovoltaic material. This type of construction comes with several advantages. First, it’s lightweight, but also more flexible and uniform in appearance. The cost, which averages at £0.80 per watt is also attractive. 

However, the lower cost comes with reduced efficiency. On average, thin-film panels achieve 10% to 13% efficiency, which is about half of the most highly efficient monocrystalline panels. Another downside of thin-film panels is their applications. The lower efficiency rate means you need to cover a larger surface area, which currently makes them best suited for commercial and industrial buildings. 

The technology of thin-film panels is still relatively new, and it will be interesting to see how it develops in the future, and the potential it carries for making solar energy more affordable and accessible in the UK.

Inverter and Battery Costs

Inverters and batteries are essential components of a solar panel system. They are necessary for converting solar energy into a usable form, and storing the energy for use when there is no daylight. 

Inverter Costs

Inverter pricing is an important consideration in factoring solar panel costs in UK. A converter is what’s responsible for taking the DC electricity generated by the solar panels and converting it into AC energy that can be used in your home. 

There’s a significant range in pricing for inverters, and they typically cost between £900 and £1,800. 

Factors that will influence the cost of a solar inverter include the type of inverter, its potential output, and the rate of energy conversion efficiency. 

Battery Costs

Solar batteries take the excess energy converted by your solar panels and store it for use when the sun isn’t shining, whether this is at night or during periods of time when conversion efficiency is down due to environmental factors. 

A good battery is key to maximising your energy savings. Lithium-ion batteries are the preferred choice because they have a higher discharge rate and a significantly longer lifespan than lead-acid batteries. While lithium-ion is a more costly investment upfront, they are the most cost-effective option long term. 

On average, you can expect to pay about £4,500 for a lithium-ion battery with the capability to store energy for a three-bedroom house. There are almost always significant price savings when purchasing the battery at the time of installation – including VAT.

Financial Incentives and Schemes

Financial incentives and government schemes are available to help homeowners and businesses offset the costs of installing solar panels. For the many homeowners who want to adopt a greener and more sustainable approach to energy use, but find solar panel costs (UK) to be financially prohibitive, these incentives and programs provide an important financial lifeline. 

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

The Smart Export Guarantee, or SEG, is a government-backed financial initiative that enables homeowners to sell back to the grid any excess energy generated by their solar panels. 

Solar is one type of renewable energy that is supported by the SEG, along with wind, hydro, and micro-CHP. 

This is a wonderful incentive for homeowners, as it allows them to not only save on their energy bills through the use of solar energy but also enables them to receive money back. Participating with the SEG can help homeowners offset the costs and begin seeing a quicker return on their solar investment.

Government Grants and Loans

In addition to the SEG, there are other government-sponsored grants and loans. Perhaps one of the most important is the EC04, which helps lower-income households reduce their energy expenditures through green upgrades, including the installation of solar panels. 

To be eligible for the EC04, homeowners must meet specific income criteria or participate in certain allowances. Homeowners must also receive an EPC grade of E, F, or G. 

Another option is the Zero VAT program which is available to all homeowners with solar panels. This program provides a 0% VAT on the purchase and installation of solar panels on residential properties until 31 March 2027.

Long-Term Savings and ROI

When considering an investment in solar panels, it’s important to look at the long-term savings, which is where the most significant financial benefit is. There’s no question that the initial costs of installing solar panels can be significant, but it is still one of the wisest financial and environmental decisions a homeowner can make. 

For homeowners who are on the fence about committing to solar energy, calculating your personal ROI is always a good place to start. 

To calculate your ROI, you’ll need a reasonably accurate quote for the cost, including installation, of the solar panels. Next, you can use an online calculator tool to estimate your annual energy savings based on the size of your system, typical energy usage, and what you’re currently paying for on-grid electricity from your energy company. 

Next, divide the total costs by your expected yearly savings. This will provide you with a baseline estimate of how long it will take you to recoup the initial investment. Also, don’t forget to factor in government grants and incentives that you may be eligible for.

Electricity Bill Savings

Even if you choose to go solar for environmental benefits, there’s no question that the money saved on electricity bills is an attractive benefit. Solar energy means less fossil-fuel energy across the board. Firstly, solar delivers energy straight to your home, so there are no costs associated with transmission. Secondly, the sun doesn’t charge us for its light!’

Solar energy is set to become an even more financially attractive option as grid electricity prices continue to rise in the coming years. Currently, the average household using solar panels can expect to save up to £1,100 per year on their energy costs. 

Payback Period

The payback period is the amount of time it takes for a homeowner to make back the price of their investment through reduced energy costs. On average, it takes between 7 and 9 years to reach the break-even point and begin seeing a return on the investment. 

However, there are different factors that can shift the payback period. For example, if you’ve saved money on installation through a government incentive or scheme, this will significantly shorten the payback period. Also, the size and type of solar panel system in relation to the amount of energy used will also influence how long it takes to begin seeing a financial return.

Total Profit Over Lifespan

When choosing solar energy, the financial benefit isn’t really about the cost savings in the short term. Instead, it’s the long-term cost savings and profit that are seen over the lifetime of home ownership. 

Considering that the lifespan of an average solar panel system is 25 years, a homeowner of a three-bedroom house could see a profit of about £5,042.72 over the system’s lifetime. This amount factors in the average UK domestic installation costs of £9180 in 2024, and the typical 7 to 9-year payback period. 

Maintenance and Additional Costs

The beauty of solar panels, aside from the financial and environmental benefits, is that they are relatively low maintenance – but, this doesn’t mean they are maintenance free. 

The most frequent type of maintenance needed is a “seasonal checkup” that should be done two to four times per year. If you’re wondering when to clean solar panels, Autumn and Spring   are ideal times. Although, when you choose Soly solar panels – no cleaning is required!

Aside from regular maintenance to keep the system operating efficiently, the most common additional solar panel costs (UK) are the replacement of inverters and batteries. 

Inverter Replacement

The overall efficiency of a solar panel system is highly dependent on the health of the inverter. The inverter is what transforms solar energy into usable energy for your home, and once the efficiency begins to drop, the cost savings of your system will drop along with it. 

On average, you can expect a solar inverter to last about ten years, give or take. Current costs for replacing an inverter range from  £500 and £1,000.

Maintenance and Repair

Because solar panels are outside, they’re exposed to elements, which means some natural wear and tear over time. Generally speaking, regular maintenance on solar panels is minimal. As mentioned above, Soly solar panels don’t require cleaning (super convenient) – while others may require regular cleaning – two to four times a year is highly recommended to remove dirt and debris and to maximise efficiency. 

It is possible to clean the solar panels yourself, but it’s a relatively inexpensive upkeep to have a professional take care of it for you. 

Schedule an inspection every year or two, or after a severe storm that could have potentially damaged the panels. 

Small repairs and upkeep cost about £80. The cost of larger repairs really depends on the extent of the damage, but can cost upwards of £1,500.

Environmental and Social Benefits

So far, we’ve talked quite a bit about the financial benefits of solar panels, but equally important on a large scale are the environmental and social benefits. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why installing solar panels is a win-win for both your wallet and the planet. 

Reduction in Carbon Footprint

To put it in the simplest terms, solar energy reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and lessens greenhouse gases, which is a massive win for the environment. 

While the financial ROI of solar panels can take 7 to 9 years, it only takes an average of 1 to 3 years to become carbon neutral with efficient solar panel use. 

Solar energy is playing a significant role in the UK’s goal of zero carbon by the year 2050.

Energy Independence

Solar panels provide a sense of security at a time when reliance on the national grid and fossil fuels can produce anxiety and uncertainty. Energy prices are on an upward trajectory, which has the potential to leave many households in a position of living with energy insecurity. Solar panels reduce this vulnerability by minimising energy dependence. 

Support for Local Economy

The solar industry supports the local economy in a number of ways. The most important is the creation of new jobs. As solar grows, so do jobs in solar manufacturing, solar panel installation, and maintenance. The positive economic impact of solar on a local level shows how current solar panel costs (UK) have a more immediate positive return.

Choosing the Right Solar Panel System

If you’ve been researching the options for solar panel systems for your home or business and have found yourself a little overwhelmed, trust us when we say you’re not alone. There are several important factors to consider, and choosing the right system can make all the difference in efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

Let’s take a closer look at the most important considerations, including assessing your energy needs, roof stability, and the efficiency of solar panels for your needs.

Assessing Your Energy Needs

Before making any decisions about a solar panel system, it’s important to begin with an energy audit to determine how much electricity your household or business uses. 

For homeowners, it is possible to conduct an energy audit yourself by assessing your average energy costs and the various points of energy efficiency (or lack of) in your home. However, you’ll likely get more accurate results with the help of a professional home energy auditor who can provide you with an EPC certificate. 

This audit is important for determining the size of the solar panel system needed, along with identifying any weak points in your home’s energy efficiency. 

Roof Suitability

The type, angle, and condition of the roof are key determinants in what type of panels and mounting system should be used. In a perfect world, a roof with an angle of 10 to 60 degrees that is south-facing would be ideal. 

However, not every home or business has these ideal roof conditions. Both flat roofs and steep roofs present unique challenges with solar panel installation, making it important to have a professional walk you through the options. 

To maximise efficiency, you might also want to consider shading and trees in the area and determine if any significant landscaping to clear trees away needs to be done before panel installation.

Quality and Efficiency of Panels

Quality and efficiency matter, but for many homeowners and businesses, so does cost. Less expensive solar panels can seem like a good option. After all, some solar energy is better than none, but in the long run, these systems almost always end up with a more expensive bottom line. 

The return is less, and it takes longer to break even. Plus, low efficiency means you might not be able to completely reduce your dependence on fossil fuel energy.

Comparing Quotes

We strongly encourage anyone interested in solar panels to obtain multiple quotes from different installers. This is the surest way to get the best deal, and also the surest way to learn more about solar panels in the process. 

A thorough quote should not only include the overall solar panel costs, but also the recommended size of the system, panel type, what the cost per watt is, where the panels will be installed, how long installation will take, and any applicable warranty information.

Installation Process

We receive many questions about how long the installation process takes. Depending on the size of the system, unique characteristics of the structure, and weather, the installation itself typically takes only a day or two. 

However, there’s more to the installation process than the day that the panels are installed on the roof. At Soly, we make the process easy and painless. A digital pre-installation technical review is conducted to flag any possible issues may arise, then installation takes place! It’s that simple with Soly!


Site Assessment

This is the initial assessment when the property is evaluated for suitability with solar panels. Details looked at include the type and degree of the roof, along with shading to determine if the panels installed will receive enough sunlight to reach maximum efficiency. 

During this assessment, you’ll also have the chance to ask questions and learn more about the options available for your home or business.

With Soly, we use internal software to assess your roof and compare our findings with images sent in by you. We aim to make solar installation easy for our clients, and they love it!



This is the day the magic happens. The process begins with installing the mounting systems, followed by securing the panels. The final step is making any required electrical connections. Homeowners may want to plan on someone being at home during the installation in the event that an installer needs to be directed inside the house.

Here’s a structured table to break down the installation steps:

Stage Description
Site Assessment Roof inspection, shading analysis, and structural evaluation
Installation Installing mounting systems, securing panels, and making electrical connections

Post-Installation Considerations

Once the solar panels are finally installed, you can sit back and relax while watching your electricity bill drop. To maximise the efficiency of your new solar panel system, there are several post-installation considerations to keep in mind. 

Monitoring and Maintenance

Regularly monitoring your solar system is one of the most proactive steps you can take to ensure optimal system performance. You can do this by using monitoring systems, including apps, to track energy production. 

If you notice a drop in the energy production or efficiency of your solar panels, it’s important to schedule a maintenance check to uncover where the issue is. Often, it’s something simple and easy to fix. 

Occasional maintenance is key for seeing a return on solar panel costs (UK). Scheduling maintenance can catch any issues when they are small and prevent costly repairs down the road. 

Warranty and Support

Solar panels for your home or business are an investment, and it’s one that is almost always covered by a warranty. Warranties on solar panels vary depending on the manufacturer, but most cover at least 10 to 25 years of regular wear and tear, including parts, shipping, and labour. 

If you’re able to find a system with a 25-year warranty, this is the best protection your money can buy. A 25-year warranty will essentially cover all repair costs for the average lifespan of the panels.

Maximising Financial Benefits

The energy cost savings of solar panels stand on their own as a great benefit, but this is something that can be even further maximised by registering with the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). 

This program enables homeowners to maximise the financial benefits of installing solar panels by selling each unit of excess energy produced back to the grid. 

The benefits of the SEG are two-fold. Not only are homeowners able to put money back into their pockets, the program also incentivizes being more aware of energy consumption and conservation.

Learnings Recap

It’s safe to say we’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide to solar panel costs in 2024. We’ve discussed everything from the cost and efficiency of different types of solar panels and how regular maintenance can make your system more efficient, to government programs to help homeowners save on the initial costs of installation. 

Here’s a quick recap of all that we’ve covered. 

  • Solar panels have become more affordable in recent years, making them accessible to more homeowners and businesses across the UK.
  • The three main types of solar panels are monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels, and thin-film panels. Monocrystalline is the most efficient. 
  • The cost of a solar panel system includes the panels, mounting, and installation, along with inverters and batteries.
  • The average cost of solar panels ranges from £0.80 to £1 per watt. 
  • Financial incentives are available to offset the initial costs of installation. These include EC04, SEG, and Zero VAT programs. 
  • While there’s an upfront expense with solar panels, the long-term savings are significant. It only takes the average household 7 to 9 years to earn back their investment. 
  • Solar panels offer environmental and social benefits, including a reduced dependence on fossil fuels, greater energy independence, and support for the local economy. 
  • Comparing quotes, receiving a thorough initial assessment, and proper planning, along with occasional are key for maximising benefits.

Final Thoughts

Making the investment in solar panels is one of the biggest decisions you can make for your home or business. It’s a decision that requires consideration of the financial, environmental, and social benefits. 

In almost every case, investing in solar panels is a decision that will pay off significantly in the long term. Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about taking the leap and embracing solar energy. 

At Soly, we are 100% committed to helping you make the transition from national grid energy to clean, sustainable solar energy. Our professional team can answer all of your questions about solar panels, and other details, like which solar battery will best meet your needs. Our goal is to make your transition to solar energy as smooth as possible. 

Contact us today to learn more about our solar panel solutions and how we can help you achieve your energy goals.

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