How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
Average Solar Panel Prices
Solar panels have dropped considerably in price over recent years, infact they are now around 65% cheaper than they were in just 2010. This is a fantastic time if you have been considering solar panels for your home, to go for it. Not only are they currently cheaper they are also more efficient than they have ever been before.
To break down solar panels costs, one single panel costs between £350-£500. The average home in the UK would require a 3kW system. For a system of that size you would require 12 solar panels. Solar panels cost [@ £350-£500 per panel] for a 3kW system will cost between £4,200 and £6,000.
Solar Panel Installation Costs
When deciding on installers for your solar panel system you should consider these points:
- Ensure that the installers have MCS which stands for Microgeneration Certificate Scheme. It’s basically an industry standard, this will ensure the work is done to a high level by an accredited installer.
- Obtaining 3 quotations will give you the best indication of current market price and help you make the final decision. Ensure these quotations are written quotes which detail everything.
- If you aren’t sure – ASK! Ask installers, as they should know the answer to nearly all questions, after all it’s their job and there is no such thing as a silly question.
[Example] Cost of Solar Panels for a 3 Bedroom House
The typical cost to install solar panels for a 3 bedroom house would be between £5,000-£8,000. This would be the installation of a 4kW panel system with 16 solar panels in total. This should be sufficient to power a standard sized 3 bedroom property.
DIY Solar Panel Costs
If you are proficient in both electrics and aspects of roofing, you could fit solar panels on the roof of your home yourself. Buying the solar panels, would be the bulk of the costs with the inverter and the wiring next down. Not forgetting all the fixtures and fitting for installation on the roof itself.
Don’t fancy scaling your roof – then install them at ground level. This is extremely common with a lot of DIY solar panel installations, where people have sufficient space either in the garden or patio to angle them into the sun. At ground level solar panels take up more precious space than say on the roof, but they are easier to install and maintain.
Solar panel kits from really tiny ones to charge mobile phones right up 6kW that could power 5+ bedroom houses are available on Amazon.
The Best Solar Panel Brands
Not all solar panels are the same! Regardless of branding I’m talking specifically about ‘Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline’.
Polycrystalline are slightly less efficient and as such are usually slightly cheaper. They are made from various silicon sources all blended together .Compared to Monocrystalline which are made from one single source of silicon.
The best way to remember this is ‘mono’ means one and ‘poly’ means many. Monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient but are more expensive.
When choosing a solar panel brand it should come down to conversion rates vs cost. The ‘best’ should be, by rights, the ones which convert the best. I.e. they turn sunlight into power but also that cost the least to buy.
None of that makes the least bit of difference if they break after only a few years. So guarantees should also play a huge factor when deciding on the solar panel brand.
Panels have been made so affordable in the last 20 years that most large electronics manufacturers now make them but the market has also become flooded with cheap Chinese imports. Know what to look out for and you won’t go wrong.
The Best 6 Brands in the UK
- Panasonic [formerly Sanyo]
- Candian Solar
- Yingli Solar
- Solar World
Well they all offer product warranties from between 10 and 25 years. LG and Panasonic both offer 25 year product warranties.
Plus all those 6 brands also offer a Power Warranty for 25 years.
Solar Panel Costs vs Savings
OK so lots of solar panel installers and manufacturers usually always quote the high end of any claims regardings savings and efficiencies. Spend ‘X’ and this will save you ‘Y’ per year, that sort of thing.
Well we are in the UK, not sunny California so what can we expect? And what can we expect given that the UK has variable levels of sunlight depending on your location. For instance in the south of England you can expect to achieve more from your solar panels than in northern Scotland. It’s simply down to sunlight hours.
Annual average savings for most homes is between £150-£450 on their electricity bill.
However more savings start to stack up when you consider SEG, a lot more…
Solar Panels & S.E.G
SEG stands for Small Export Guarantee, it’s a solar panel grant from the Government that will pay you to ‘export’ solar power that you have created and place it back into the grid.
Tariffs obviously vary but an estimated rate to calculate from is 4p/kWh. So you could be paid 4 pence for every kWh or put another way £1 every 25kWh that you export back to the grid.
How much per annum could I make on SEG?
It’s not so much that it ‘makes’ you money; most households see it as a way to bring down the total cost of installing the solar panels in the first place. SEG in effect speeds up the return on investment. But hey, money is money right!
From SEG you can expect to roughly earn the following:
3kW system – £75 per annum
4kW system – £100 per annum
5kW system – £125 per annum
Are solar panels worth it?
Depending on the system size that you have installed it takes 15-25 years to get your money back. The rule is the bigger the kW system you install the more power it can produce and therefore the faster it pays for itself.
But we have missed a critical factor, we have only so far talked about the costs to buy them and how long it takes to recoup that money – we haven’t yet touched on the green energy bonus.
Having solar panels and being able to create tons of green energy for you and family is wonderful. It will help reduce your carbon footprint which all of us could do a helping hand with. It also reduces our reliance on fossil fuels as a nation. Once the solar panels are paid for from then on, the energy they produce is clean, free and 100% renewable.
Installing solar panels on your home can actually affect the price too – for the better. Home buying green conscious consumers are said to favour properties with solar panels over those without. Well they are going too aren’t they, who likes paying bills? Anything to reduce household bills in a clean endless way will strike up interest in your home.
So you tell me, are they ‘worth’ it? I’d say so yes!
Solar Panel Cost FAQ
Are there any government grants or payments for solar panels in England or Wales?
Yes SEG is a government grant, before SEG existed it was F.I.T [Feed In Tariff]. FIT ended in 2019 but those already signed up for the grant prior to 2019 will still continue to receive payments. Sadly there are currently no solar panel grants available to pay for them to be installed on your home.
What size solar panels do I need?
A bigger system, so a 5kW system over a 3kW system doesn’t necessarily have larger solar panels it just has more of them. If you have limited space on your roof you should consider opting for the most efficient monocrystalline solar panels. Yes these are more expensive but it comes down to roof space vs output. If your energy usage as a household requires a 3kW system then you will require 12 panels and that will cover 22 square metres of roof space.
Solar Panel Cost Summary
- For an average size 3 bedroom home you will need a 3kW solar panel system. This will cost around £5,000 and it will take around 20 years to pay that back in free electricity and/or returning unused power to the grid in the form of a SEG payment.
- Monocrystalline solar panels are the best type with the highest efficiencies and Panasonic and LG are the two leading brands in the UK also with the best warranties.
- To maximise your solar panels keep them clean and optimise the power from them by using this power when there is the most sunlight available ie during the day.
If you would benefit from clean, green energy being used in your home during the day then you should seriously consider going solar!