What is a Fair Price to Pay For Solar Roof Panels?

Year after year, the cost of solar panels keeps falling.

Three years ago we sent our quote requests to dozens of installers and asked them how much they would charge to install solar panels onto the roof of a typical three-bed house.

The average figure was over £6000, but that was three years ago.

If you would like to know what the going rate is in 2018, keep reading our guide.

We can also help you get a competitive customised quote for your property.

We created this page in 2015 but updated it on the

Choose Between Solar PV or Solar Thermal

Solar photovoltaic (solar PV) are panels that convert the sun’s rays into electricity. They are the most common type of roof panels in the UK, and you’ve probably seen them on hundreds of roofs.

Solar thermal panels are usually tubes that contain water that is warmed by the suns rays. This water is used to reduce the amount of gas required to heat up bath and shower water.

As thermal panels aren’t nearly as popular, we haven’t sourced prices for their installation.

The prices on this page are for solar PV roof panels and should not be confused with any other system.

How Reliable Are Our Solar Panel Prices?

We sourced solar panel prices from six installers and then calculated an average figure.

Our prices are therefore only as reliable as the figures given to us.

The property in question is based in the south of the United Kingdom.

As we are sure you are aware, every installation is different, and there are always caveats and limitations to our data.

Our Solar Panel Price Guide – Updated For 2018

Solar panel fixed to roofBelow is our researched price guide for solar panels to a roof on a three bedroom property.

The system is a typical 4kwh product with a real-world output of approximately 3.5kwph.

The panel coverage area is around 25 square metres.

ItemTotal Cost
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Solar Panel Cost - 3-Bed House£5750.00

This price is for full ownership of the panels; there’s no loan or sharing agreement.

Solar Panel Variations

The solar panel prices quoted on this page are for standard solar panels installed onto a typical tiled and sloping roof.

Flat roofs will require a different system to support the panels; this is usually a supporting frame secured to the timber rafters under any flat roof felt or fibreglass.

Installers often find it harder to install panels onto roofs with slates instead of traditional clay or slate tiles, so these types of roofs may cost more.

Unusual roof shapes and designs could mean you need lots of smaller panels rather than one or two larger ones; this may cost more in both materials and labour fees.

The easiest and most cost-effective solar panel installation is on a property with good access to the roof, common tiles and just one aspect requiring the panels.

Solar panels fixed to a tiled roof in the United Kingdom

How Long Does it Take an Installer to Fit Solar Panels?

We asked our chosen contractors how long they thought it would take to install the roof panels.

Based on the information provided to us, we’ve created a project schedule:

The initial inspection of the property, checking the existing electrics and measuring the roof – 1-3 hours.

Scaffold erected to one side of the property – 3-6  hours. Depending on access difficulty.

The installation of panels on one side of the roof – 4 hours.

Installation of all electrics including an inverter – 3-6 hours depending on the property.

Removal of scaffold – 2-3 hours.

While solar panels could be installed within a day, the various steps will probably be completed over several days with different tradespeople coming in at different times.

Get a Personalised Solar Panel Price

Due to the unpredictable prices currently being experienced in the solar panel industry, we suggest sourcing your own custom quote.

  • Fill in the form with your details
  • Get a quote promptly
  • Read reviews from recent customers
  • Leave feedback when the solar panel project is finished
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What Are The Realistic Long-Term Savings?

You can expect every solar panel installer to be quite forthcoming with how much money you’ll save over the next ten years or so. The truth is these figures are always best case scenarios.

Below is a list of factors that may reduce the amount of electricity you generate:

  1. A very steep roof, too steep and when the sun is at its highest the rays will hit the panels at an angle; this can significantly reduce the efficiency of the roof panels.
  2. North facing roof s- in a nutshell, you will not generate much electricity with panels on a north facing roof, so we don’t recommend placing them on this part of the roof.
  3. East/west facing roof – your power generation will be much less than a south-facing roof,  so you will need to look very carefully at the projected electricity output of these panels to determine how long it will take before you get your investment back.
  4. The south of the United Kingdom has more daylight hours than the north of the country, so a property with solar panels in Brighton will generate more electricity than an identical system in Glasgow.
  5. Trees, buildings and other objects that shade your roof. These can all lower the projections you receive.

If you can install panels that meet all of the “best case” situations, then there is no reason why you can’t recoup your investment within the suggested timeline which is usually just over 20 years for a typical three bedroom property with panels on a south-facing roof.

Feed In Tariff

The feed-in tariff is the amount of money you get back based on the of electricity you generate.

There are two parts to the Feed-in Tariff (FIT):

  1. Payment based on the total amount of electricity you produce.
  2. A second payment based on the amount you do not use but feed back into the national grid for others to use.

At the moment these figures are estimated for most installations (larger installations require a meter, though). However as Smart meters are now being installed in homes, these may soon be used to measure the exact amount of electricity sent to the grid.

The feed-in tariff for the generation of electricity is guaranteed by the government for 20 years, so you can calculate how much money you will get back (you can find a calculator at the base of this page).

To get the full benefits of the feed-in tariff your property must have an energy rating certificate of “D” or better. You can improve the rating of your property by improving its thermal efficiency, meeting current regulations for insulation and installing double glazed windows, etc. can all help you achieve a “D” or above.

If you have a rating below a “D”, then your property will be put on a different, less profitable feed-in tariff.

Free or Heavily Discounted Panels

Every day, new offers seem to appear, often advertised on the web. Many are heavily discounted or even promoted as “free”.

Of course, there’s no such thing as free.

Watch out for these offers; some companies will install the panels for free and collect the “feed-in” payments for themselves. You, of course, get free electricity.

However, when you come to sell the property, the buyer will have to agree to take over the contract, which is usually around 20 years.

This could be an issue if the panels are old, of obsolete design, are inefficient, or the buyer doesn’t like their location. Some buyers disapprove of cheap unsightly panels secured to a front aspect roof, and some people may simply not want to tie themselves into a long-term contract.

Do think about the long-term effects of installing panels that form part of any ongoing hire contract.

Do Solar Panels Increase House Prices?

A recent survey by the National Association of Estate Agents revealed that just over 70 percent believed it did not affect house value. 14 percent felt it increased it while another 14 percent said it would decrease.

Apparently, a system that has been fully paid for is more attractive to a buyer than a system that still has to be paid for, either by a loan attached to the property or by a contract.

It’s also worth remembering that a saving on electricity bills is desirable to some, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of kerb appeal. Panels fitted to the rear of a property are considered acceptable by most people, but there are those who disapprove of panels secured to the front aspect of the roof.

Get The Most From Your Panels

The best way to recoup your investment is to make changes to your lifestyle, so your property uses more electricity during the day and less in the evening.

This could mean adjusting timers on things like washing machines and clothes dryers.

The graphic below shows peak solar panel electricity generation and also peak time usage.

Peak energy creation and usage graphic

Peak energy creation and usage graphic

Maintenance

Solar panels are usually maintenance free for at least 20 years, but you may need to replace the inverter after 15 years or so.

Do consider other aspects of your property before installing solar panels. Will you want to extend your property or convert your loft at a later date? What about the condition of the tiles and the roof in general? Will you consider replacing the roof within the next 20-30 years?

Make sure any home insurance policies you have in place updated to include the solar panels. These could be the single most expensive item in many homes.

Check Out These Resources

We think these websites are great resources and worth exploring before you decide to go ahead with a solar panel installation:

The Energy Saving Trust has more information about panels and the Feed-in tariff.

An energy saving calculator can be found here. Use it as a guide but understand it’s not 100% accurate.

Latest solar panel news from the trusted Money Saving Expert website.

Feedback on Our Price Guide

What do you think of our researched guide to solar panel costs in the United Kingdom?

Have you received prices? How did they compare to our figures?

You can leave feedback at the base of this page for other visitors to read.

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