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Are Solar Panels Worth It In The UK

Are solar panels worth it in the UK?

Is investing in solar panels in the UK worth it? It’s a question that many homeowners are asking as they consider switching to solar energy.  

With rising electricity bills and growing concerns about carbon emissions, the potential savings and benefits of solar panels are enticing. But before taking the plunge, it’s important to understand the costs, payback period, and other factors to consider. 

It’s also worth checking to see what government schemes may be available to you to pay for all or part of your solar installation. Fill in our quick eligibility form to see if you could be eligible for a grant for a free solar system.

See if you're eligible for free solar panel grant

See if you're eligible for free solar panel grant

How many solar panels do I need?

According to OFGEM, a typical three-bedroom house uses 2,700kWh of electricity per year. 

Each solar panel on average, generates anywhere from 170 to 350 watts per hour, depending on where they’re placed and what the weather’s like. So, for every solar panel, that’s roughly 0.17 to 0.35 kWh of electricity per hour. 

So, if you’ve got a 4-kW solar power system which is one of the most common in the UK, it can produce up to 3,000 kWh of electricity in a year under perfect conditions.  

Of course, we don’t get perfect conditions every day so while 3,000 kWh is a good ballpark figure, the actual output depends on lots of variables like where they’re facing, if there’s anything blocking the sun, and what the weather’s like. 

As an indicator of how many solar panels you’ll need, the table below is a guide when deciding how many solar panels you need. 

Solar System Wattage 

No. of Solar Panels Needed 

3kW system 

8 panels 

4kW system 

10 panels 

5kW system 

12 panels 

6kW system 

14 panels 

solar pv

Cost of solar panels in the UK 

A typical 4kW solar panel system covers about 21 m2 to 28 m2 of your roof, costs between £6,000 and £8,000, and requires about 10 panels. 

Put simply, the larger the solar system, the pricier the initial setup might be. But, a higher kW system will generate more savings in the long run. 

Let’s break it down: a 6kW system will really amp up your return on investment over time. You’re looking at potentially pocketing over £1,000 every year, compared to a £9,000 – £11,000 installation cost. Now, contrast that with a 3kW system, which might save you around £500 annually, with a £5,000 – £6,000 installation cost. 

Just keep in mind, those installation cost estimates are ballpark figures, but they give you a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into. So, if you’re ready to dive into the world of solar power, these numbers should give you some solid food for thought! 

Again, it’s always worth checking if you’re eligible for a grant to help you with your solar set up and Warma are here to guide you through the process. Sounds too good to be true? Just click the link below to see if you qualify.   

See if you're eligible for free solar panel grant

See if you're eligible for free solar panel grant

Do I need to service my solar panels? 

One of the best things about a solar system is the fact that it comes with very small maintenance costs. Solar panels are low maintenance, as they have very few moving parts, and have a lifespan of 30-40 years. 

Our installers will place your panels at an angle to help prevent debris from collecting as much as possible and rain just slides right off into your gutters. However, it’s recommended that you clean your panels once a year or if things like snow and pollen could stick. 

You can clean the panels yourself from ground level with a hose. Just make sure it’s on a low water pressure setting so there’s no damage to your panels that can invalidate your warranty. 

They should also be serviced at least once every five years. This involves an inspection and running some tests on the meter and inverters.  

Potential savings and payback period 

Alright, let’s discuss why adding solar panels to your roof in the UK could save you money. 

First off, think about those rising electricity bills. With solar panels, you’re tapping into free energy from the sun to power your home during the day. That means less reliance on the grid and smaller monthly bills.  

But wait, there’s more! The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) requires energy suppliers to pay homeowners for any solar-powered energy they’re not using, and you get paid for every unit of excess energy you feed back to the National Grid. 

Solar panels also add value to your property. Homes with solar panels can sell for up to 14% more than those without. 

Now, let’s talk about long-term savings. As for when you’ll start seeing that investment pay for itself, well, it could several years but it completely depends on the size of your system, how much energy you use and environmental factors.  

You will see savings on your bills from the beginning though as you’re generating your own electricity and not buying it from your energy supplier. 

The table below shows the average annual savings for different solar panel system sizes in the UK.  

System Size 

Average Annual Savings (GBP) 

3 kW 

£165 – £525 

4 kW 

£226 – £580 

5 kW 

£320 – £800 

6 kW 

£430 – £1,200 

More savings with solar battery storage 

Store electricity generated by your solar panels to use long after the sun’s gone down. 

Solar panels generate power during daylight hours, this is often when homes use the least electricity. Whilst this unused electricity can be sold back to the grid as part of an SEG, many households are benefiting more by storing this unused energy in a solar battery to use at night when your home demands more electricity. 

A solar battery will discharge power to your appliances and devices long after the sun has set. 

Adding a solar battery is a great way to use the renewable energy your system has created, while minimising your bills. 

Can solar panels heat my water? 

Yes, they can! A solar panel diverter is a genius little device that works alongside your existing solar panels and water heater, it’s easy to install and will save you money. 

Usually installed alongside a solar battery storage system, a solar diverter works by diverting energy generated to your hot water system. Your solar panels soak up the sun, but sometimes, they produce more energy than you need. This extra electricity would usually flow back to the grid or your solar storage battery. 

This is where the diverter steps in, it keeps track of this excess energy and when it detects this extra power, it fires up your immersion heater, using the free solar energy to heat your hot water tank. 

Double whammy savings: By using the sun’s energy to heat your water, you’re not drawing as much electricity from the grid, so your bills shrink, and you produce fewer emissions.

solar diverter

Government funding for solar panel installation 

Did you know there are some awesome government initiatives in the UK that can help you get solar panels at a steal? Check it out: 

First up, we’ve got the Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4) Scheme. It’s running until 2026 and can hook you up with either partially or fully free solar panels if you qualify.  

Then, there’s the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). With this gem, you can actually sell any extra energy your solar panels generate back to the grid. Cha-ching!  

And get this—until 2027, the government’s slashing the VAT rate for solar panels and other energy-saving gear to a big fat zero.  

Oh, and don’t forget about Solar Together. It’s a group buying scheme in certain areas, making solar power more accessible and affordable for everyone. 

These initiatives are all about pushing renewable energy, saving you cash, and reducing the UK’s carbon emissions. So, why not take advantage and make some serious savings while helping the planet? Sounds like a win-win to us! 

How can Warma UK make things easier? 

Warma UK is your go-to for navigating the maze of solar panel funding options. We’re experts at helping homeowners access free funding opportunities, so you don’t have to stress about footing the bill. 

With Warma UK on your side, you’ll breeze through the application process for initiatives like the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Scheme and the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). Say goodbye to high energy bills and hello to a brighter, more sustainable future with Warma UK!

See if you're eligible for free solar panel grant

See if you're eligible for free solar panel grant

Athira Harish