Solar panels

Understanding the Cost of Solar Energy in the UK

Introduction to Solar Energy and Its Benefits. Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular in the UK as more homeowners realise the benefits of renewable energy in a cost of living crisis. The benefits of solar energy are both environmental and economic. Solar power is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, become energy independent and save or make money. In this article, we explore the cost of solar energy in the UK. We will address common questions and provide insights to help you make an informed decision.

Start over here

Time to go solar?

To set up a no-obligation consultation, we ask you to leave your details so we can contact you. Solar panels are at the heart of the sustainable revolution. Discover the benefits of solar energy at your home. The consultation will give you:

  • Exactly how much you could save with solar (up to £1,300 per year!)
  • A free, no-obligation quote on high quality solar panels
  • Industry leading performance guarantees for 25 years

Free and without obligation

Schedule your appointment with Soly over here

    Types of Solar Panels Available in the UK

    The most common types of solar panels in the UK include monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film solar panels. Here’s how they differ.


    Monocrystalline solar panels


    Require less roof space

    Ideal Use Case
    Most climates, particularly low-light conditions

    More expensive upfront



    Polycrystalline solar panels


    Require more roof space

    Ideal use case
    Ample sunlight and consistent weather

    More cost-effective upfront

    Thin-Film solar panels


    Require more roof space (large-scale)

    Ideal use case
    Most climates, particularly low-light conditions

    Most cost-effective upfront

    A Cost Comparison

    Polycrystalline vs. Thin-Film

    Thin-film solar panels are cheaper than polycrystalline solar panels. Polycrystalline, with their mature technology and widespread manufacturing, are a cost-effective solution for residential installations or projects focused on maximising energy production in a limited area. Thin-film panels are lighter and more flexible and therefore cheaper to manufacture. However, they are more suited to large-scale, utility-level installations. They are the least efficient and require a lot of space to meet the energy needs of most households.

    Understanding Monocrystalline Solar Panel Costs
    Monocrystalline solar panels have a more in-depth manufacturing process than other types of panels. It involves growing a single crystal structure from a high-purity silicon seed crystal. The monocrystalline wafers are then sliced from the single crystal and processed into solar cells. Monocrystalline panels are generally more expensive due to the complexity of the manufacturing process and the higher purity of silicon used. The single crystal structure enhances the efficiency of monocrystalline panels, making them more space-efficient and productive. While the upfront cost is higher, higher efficiency often translates to better long-term performance and cost per watt over its lifespan.

    Register now for your own solar system. It’s without obligation.

    Calculate your savings in less than a minute

    Free and without obligation

    Breaking Down the Cost of Solar Energy UK

    The cost of solar energy in the UK depends on a variety of factors, such as installation costs, maintenance costs, potential financial incentives and more.

    Maintenance and Repair Costs Over Time

    Solar panel maintenance is key for ensuring optimal performance. This involves cleaning the panels to remove dirt and debris, checking for shading issues and inspecting wiring and connections regularly. While some homeowners want to perform the maintenance themselves, periodic professional inspections (which cost £100 to £200) are recommended for ensuring the long-term efficiency and performance of the solar panels.

    Long-Term Maintenance and Repair Strategies

    Here are some tips for managing long-term maintenance and repair costs:

    • Regular Inspections: Conduct regular inspections to identify any visible issues with the solar panels, wiring or connections. Early detection can prevent minor problems from escalating.
    • Professional Inspections: Invest in scheduled professional inspections every one to two years. While there are initial costs, these inspections can catch potential issues early, minimising repair costs in the long run.
    • Quality Components: Choose high-quality solar panels and components during the initial installation. Quality equipment often comes with better warranties and can reduce the likelihood of premature failures.
    • Manufacturer Guidelines: Follow manufacturer guidelines for maintenance and operation to ensure the longevity of the system and reduce the risk of avoidable issues.
    • Maintenance Contracts: Consider maintenance contracts with reputable solar service providers to cover routine inspections. This can be a cost-effective way to ensure the ongoing health of the solar energy system.
    Average Installation Costs for Solar Panels in the UK

    Installation costs for solar energy installs can range from £300 to £500 per person per day or 20 pence per watt. As it usually takes two people to install solar panels, you can work off a range of £600 to £1,000 per day. If you’re calculating installation costs by watt, you can expect to pay around £600 for a 3kWh system (20 pence x 3,000 watts).

    Factors Influencing Installation Costs

    The following factors can influence the total installation cost:

    • Size and orientation of the roof.
    • Site accessibility and complexity of install.
    • Angle and orientation of the solar panels.

    The size and orientation of the roof is a big factor, as larger roofs with favourable angles can accommodate more panels and reduce the cost per watt. Accessibility can impact labour costs, especially in cases where complex roof structures require additional time and effort to reach. Additionally, the angle and orientation of the solar panels influence their efficiency, affecting the overall system size and, consequently, the installation costs. Scheduling a virtual consultation is a great way to accurately determine the optimal configuration and associated costs.

    Other factors affecting the cost of solar power

    The overall cost of solar energy in the UK is made up largely of the equipment, installation and maintenance costs. On average, a solar installation for a three-bedroom house costs £7,000. As you can save hundreds of pounds on your energy bill each year, the payback period is usually eight years. Government incentives and rebates can bring this initial cost down and payback period even further.

    Comparing Solar System Sizes and Their Costs

    Is a 4kW Solar System Worth It in the UK?

    According to The Energy Saving Trust, you can save about £70 per year on average by installing a 4kW solar system. Installing solar batteries is a great way to reduce your cost of solar energy in the UK even further. Here are the average costs for different solar energy system sizes in the UK.

    • 1 bedroom flat – System: 3 kWh – Number of solar panels: 10-12 – Cost Range: £5,000-£6,000
    • 1-2 bedroom house – System: 4 kWh – Number of solar panels: 16 – Cost Range: £6,000-£8,000
    • 3 bedroom house – System: 5 kWh – Number of solar panels: 20 – Cost Range: £8,000-£9,000
    • 4-5 occupants – System: 6 kWh – Number of solar panels: 24 – Cost Range: £9,000-£11,000
    Cost-Benefit Analysis of a 5kW Solar System

    Installing a 5kW solar system in the UK can cost anywhere between £8,000 and £9,000, including installation. If you add a solar battery to store excess energy, this will likely cost you between £11,000 and £14,000. The system can generate around 22kWh of free electricity per day (depending on how many solar panels you have), saving at least £700 per year with a payback period of 10 years.

    Schemes like the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) compensate homeowners for surplus electricity fed back into the grid. The return on investment is influenced by factors like local electricity rates, household energy consumption and available incentives. With a lifespan of 25 years and minimal maintenance costs, a 5kW solar panel system proves to be a wise investment over the long term.

    Cost-Benefit Analysis of a 4kW Solar System

    Installing a 4kW solar system in the UK can cost anywhere between £6,000 and £8,000, including installation. The system can generate just short of 20kWh of free electricity per day (depending on how many solar panels you have), saving at least £720 per year. Taking advantage of SEG, you can save up to £767 per year with a payback period of nine years.

    The Role of Feed-in Tariffs and Smart Export Guarantee

    Insights from Martin Lewis on Solar Panels

    The Smart Export Guarantee, which replaced the UK’s Feed-in Tariff scheme (FiT), is a government initiative that compensates households for feeding their surplus electricity back to the National Grid. This helps reduce the cost of solar energy in the UK over time.

    According to UK financial expert Martin Lewis “Solar panels both reduce your energy bills but you can get paid for generating electricity even if you use it yourself.”

    Martin Lewis’s Tips on Solar Panel Maintenance
    Martin Lewis recommends maintaining solar panels to ensure maximum benefit from SEG. He says “The Energy Saving Trust says little maintenance is required on a properly installed, well-designed solar PV system, though you’ll likely need to replace the inverter – a gadget that is a key part of the mechanism – within about 10 years (costing around £800). Of course, though, things can go wrong. If so, check the installer warranty you get – it can cover you for up to 20 years. If the panels are damaged by something unexpected, such as a storm, you may also be covered by buildings insurance – check with your insurer before you have them installed.”


    The Future of Solar Energy Costs in the UK

    The Financial Viability of Solar Panels in the UK

    The future cost of solar energy in the UK is expected to continue to decrease due to advancements in technology and market trends. As solar technology continues to evolve, we expect increased efficiency and reduced manufacturing costs, potentially driving down the overall cost of solar energy. Favourable market trends, such as increased demand and government incentives, may contribute to more competitive pricing.

    Impact of Solar Panels on Home Insurance Premiums

    Installing solar panels can impact home insurance premiums in the UK, both positively and negatively. On the plus side, some insurers may cover solar panels within typical buildings insurance at no extra cost. Other insurers may offer discounts or incentives for homes equipped with solar panels due to their potential to increase property value and reduce the risk of electrical-related claims.

    However, homeowners should also consider that as the initial cost of installing solar panels might lead to an increase in the home’s insured value, this could affect insurance premiums. It’s crucial for homeowners to communicate openly with their insurers, accurately assess the increased value of their property and explore policies that consider the positive aspects of solar energy installations.

    Solar Panel Financing and Loan Options in the UK

    Financing options for solar panels can include:

    • Loans: Covers the upfront cost of the system and homeowners can own the system and enjoy immediate savings.
    • Leases: Involves leasing the solar panels from a provider. It involves no initial cost, but you won’t own the system.
    • Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs): Involves a third-party owning and maintaining the solar panels on your property. Homeowners can use the generated electricity at a predetermined rate, but won’t own the system.

    Choosing one of these options can make the initial upfront investment more affordable for homeowners.

    Assessing the Impact of Government Incentives

    Here are some UK government incentives that can make installing solar energy affordable:

    • The Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO4)
    • Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)
    • Home Upgrade Grant (HUG)
    • 0% VAT Incentive

    Taking advantage of one of these incentives is a great way to reduce your overall cost. Some will even cover the entire cost of the system if you qualify.

    Is it worth buying solar panels in the UK?

    Yes, buying solar panels in the UK is a worthwhile investment due to government incentives like the Smart Export Guarantee and the positive impact on property values. While the upfront costs can be significant, the long-term benefits include reduced energy bills and potential income from excess energy generation.

    Understanding Solar Battery Storage Systems

    Solar Panels and Electricity Bills in the UK

    Solar battery storage systems play an essential role in managing your solar energy as they are able to store excess electricity generated by your solar panels for later use. These systems enable homeowners to store surplus energy during periods of high solar production and use it when solar generation is low, such as during the night or on cloudy days. This not only enhances energy self-sufficiency but also contributes to further reductions in electricity bills.

    Advantages of Solar Battery Storage Investment

    Solar battery storage systems offer UK homeowners significant advantages in terms of cost savings and energy efficiency. By storing excess solar energy during periods of high production and using it when needed, you can optimise your energy consumption patterns. This flexibility allows you to reduce reliance on grid electricity during peak hours, avoiding higher tariff rates and leading to substantial cost savings over time. Additionally, solar battery storage enhances energy efficiency by ensuring a more consistent power supply, even when solar generation is low, contributing to increased self-sufficiency and resilience against fluctuating energy prices.

    Energy Independence vs. Grid Dependency

    Energy independence is one of the main reasons homeowners choose solar energy in the UK. With solar panels, you generate your own electricity, reduce your reliance on the grid during daylight hours and potentially eliminate your daytime running costs. While homeowners may still have to pay for grid electricity at night after installing solar panels (if they don’t have a battery), the overall impact on electricity bills is substantial. What’s more, UK homeowners have the option to sell excess energy back to the grid, earning compensation through schemes like SEG.

    Conclusion and Next Steps

    As you can see, the cost of solar energy in the UK can be substantial at first but is rewarding and cost-effective in the long run with many homeowners breaking even within eight years. Installing solar panels can reduce electricity bills, create potential income from excess energy and increase the value of your property.

    When considering solar energy, consider the long-term financial and environmental advantages of solar energy. Soly is a trusted solar energy provider committed to helping homeowners make the move to solar. Use our handy configurator for an instant quote or contact us to schedule a personalised consultation to explore tailored solar solutions for your home and needs.

    Soly blog

    Welcome to the Soly Blog. We gladly share information about all of our products and keep you updated on every development upon the sustainable market. You will be able to find a lot of usable information on almost every topic possible.
    cards knowhow icon icon
    The Ultimate Guide to the Best Solar Panels on the Market
    We explain how to select the best solar panels for your home, including the most energy-efficient and durable options
    cards knowhow icon icon
    UK Solar Panel Prices 2024: Understanding Costs and Trends
    The solar industry in the United Kingdom has evolved significantly in recent years.
    cards knowhow icon icon
    Understanding Solar Panels Cost in the UK
    We explore the cost of solar panels in the UK in detail and how you can save money with solar panels.
    cards knowhow icon icon
    The Ultimate Guide to Storage Batteries for Solar Panels
    The purpose of storage batteries within solar panel systems is to store excess energy generated during periods of sunlight.