Solar Panel Installation Cost Guide
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Prices Updated For 2021
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more people are working from home and consuming more and more daytime electricity.
With home-working set to continue into the foreseeable future and the cost of grid electricity going up each year, the case for going green is now impossible to ignore.
The government has already promised that by 2030, there will be a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.
Is your car spending most of the day parked on your driveway? Just think you could be charging an electric car for free and making a huge saving compared to the cost of petrol.
Modern Tesla cars are faster than most petrol cars, require less maintenance and have a range of several hundred miles.
You can even buy solar storage batteries so you can charge the car and power your home when the sun isn’t shining.
Whatever your reasons for going green, whether it’s environmental concerns, the potential to save money or perhaps you want to be a leader and not a follower, your journey starts with solar panels.
Real Prices From UK Based Installers
If you want to know how much any home improvement will really cost, industry experts suggest you get at least 3 quotes and compare them.
We went a little further and contacted 28 solar panel installers in the UK and asked them how much it would cost to fully install and hook up a solar panel array to the roof of our 3-bed property.
We sent photos of our home, its roof, our meter and even of our fusebox (which incidentally we choose to upgrade to a new consumer unit as ours was very old).
Rather than relying on published price lists, which often exclude hidden costs and charges, we asked our chosen installers to include all of the following:
- All the materials supplied and delivered.
- The installation.
- The hook up to an inverter and into our home.
- All of the paperwork, including notification to the local building control.
- VAT which is currently set at 5% for energy-saving materials.
A typical 3-bed home
Solar panel installation
Cost to Install Solar Panels in the UK
This is how much we were told it would cost for a professional to fully install solar roof panels to a typical 3-bed property in the UK.
We’ve separated the average price by region as labour costs further north are cheaper than in London and the southeast.
|South, SW and Midlands||£6000||£6500|
|Outer Region and North||£5500||£6000|
Will the Cost of Solar Panels Go Up or Down in the Future?
Solar panels are getting cheaper and cheaper as more manufacturers come to market and competition increases.
15 years ago, the average cost of a solar panel installation was over £15,000, now its closer to £6000. We expect this trend to continue into the foreseeable future.
RIP Feed-In Tariff: We Will Miss You!
The feed-in tariff was a government-backed scheme whereby solar panel owners were paid for excess electricity units they sent into the grid.
Because the vast majority of homes in the UK didn’t have a Smart meter, there was no way for the government to record exactly how many units were being transferred to the grid so they took a guess and called it “deemed export” and paid the owner 50% of their solar generation, using the size of their panels as an estimate.
The feed-in tariff was initially very popular and for a good reason; solar panel owners were being paid from the feed-in tariff, even if they used most of the power they generated and sent very little, or non at all, to the grid.
Then the government reduced they paid.
Then they reduced it again.
Then in 2020, they announced the cancellation of the feed-in tariff for new applicants altogether and replaced it with a watered-down version called the “Smart Export Guarantee”.
Hello Smart Export Guarantee
As soon as we waved goodbye to the beloved feed-in tariff, it’s newer smaller brother came over the horizon.
Enter the SEG.
Here’s what you need to know:
- It applies to other types of renewable energy as well, including home turbines.
- You’ll still get paid if you sign up to an SEG tariff.
- All large energy providers must offer an SEG tariff and must pay for any units you send into the grid.
- You’ll need a modern Smart meter (most energy firms install these for free).
- You won’t get paid based on “deemed export” but rather on how much you actually send to the grid.
- The amount you’ll be paid, as decided by the government, must be “more than zero” per unit.
Yes, the “more than zero” per unit statement isn’t very convincing but to be fair, there are now dozens of tariffs that pay substantially more than zero per unit of electricity you send into the grid.
Why We Think Home Storage Batteries Are The Future
Let’s face reality, with the diesel and petrol ban less than 9 years away and more of us working from home, electricity demand is set to skyrocket at a time when older, dirty power plants are being closed down. Newer, greener plants and sources of energy cost more, much more.
The cost of electricity in the UK is heading in only one direction – up.
Choosing solar panels is a great way to power your home during the day and can save you a packet but any excess power you send to the grid won’t earn you much in cash and certainly nowhere near enough to pay for costly peak-time electricity.
The solution, many feel, is home storage batteries, commonly referred to as solar batteries.
These batteries can be fitted in a matter of hours and can store excess energy from your panels that’s not used during the day.
When the sun sets and your solar panels are no longer creating electricity, your battery kicks in and powers the home.
You don’t need to worry about running out of electricity as the battery can switch to grid-supplied power when it’s running low.
When the sun rises the next day, your home will be powered by the solar panels and any excess sent to the battery for use later.
Here’s a great bonus: if it’s cloudy outside, you can set your battery to charge off the grid during the day when electricity prices are cheaper and then use the power in the evening instead of costly peak-time electricity.
Modern batteries come with apps so you have complete control of your solar battery.
Did we mention that if there’s a power cut, your battery can keep your house going for a couple of days without any disruption at all?
Get a Price For Solar Roof Panels
Now you know how much it typically costs to install solar roof panels, you can get a custom price from one of our partners.
- Fill out the online form.
- Get a quick response, often in hours.
- Read verified reviews from past customers.
- Arrange a site visit.
- Get your written quote for the installation of solar roof panels.
Just tap the button below, there’s no obligation, and it only takes a few minutes to fill out the form:
Solar Panel FAQs
Below you’ll find answers to common solar panel installation questions:
When Were These Solar Panel Installation Prices Published?
We sourced prices for the installation of solar panels to a 3-bed house in late January 2021 and published this guide in February 2021.
How Long Does it Take to Install Solar Roof Panels and Hook Them Up to the Electrics?
The work is usually spread over several days with workers on-site for a few hours at a time:
Day 1 – external company erects scaffold.
Day 2 – solar panels fitted.
Day 3 – electrics hooked up by a qualified electrician.
Day 4 – Scaffold company removes scaffold.
Not all companies spread the work over 4 days, and it could be condensed into just over a day’s work, but with different tradespeople needed for various aspects of the installation, it will likely take 2-4 partial days.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last For?
Modern solar panels are designed to last for between 20 and 25 years but may last longer.
Is it Possible to Charge a Car From Solar Panels?
You can charge a car from the power generated from solar panels and home battery storage. Tesla advises owners of EVs to install two Powerwall home batteries so they will have enough storage capacity to run the home and charge a car.
Are Solar Panels Worth It?
This depends on your interpretation of “worth”.
Solar panels can increase your home’s value, cut energy bills, and reduce your car running costs if you have an EV.
Most people aim to break even and recoup the cost of their solar panel installations within 15 years, but with petrol, diesel, gas and grid electricity prices all set to rise, we think solar panels are worth it.
And then, of course, there’s the environment, which is priceless.
Read more: Money Saving Expert’s guide to solar panels.
What About VAT? Do These Prices Include VAT?
The prices we sourced all included VAT which is charged at the reduced rate of 5%.
It’s worth noting that if you install solar panels AND a solar battery at the same time, you might only pay 5% (instead of 20%) VAT on the battery too. There are rules, so speak to your solar installer.
Standalone solar battery installations are charged at 20% VAT.
Where Can I Get a Price for Solar Panels?
We’ve partnered with Rated People who can help you find reputable, rated and reviewed local solar panel installers.
With favourable feed-in tariffs being binned by the government, now is the time to store your excess energy from the solar panels and use it when electricity prices are high, such as in the evening.
Fuseboxes & Consumer Units
Old fusesboxes may not only fail an electrical inspection, they could also be fatal. See how much it costs to remove an old fusebox or outdated consumer unit and install a new one.
Electrical safety inspections are mandatory for landlords and recommended for homeowners. See how much electricians are charging to fully inspect the electrics in a typical home.
I’m an electrician working in the south of the UK and your prices are about right, I charge about £500 to install a new consumer unit. Having previously worked in Scotland, I can confirm that the prices local electricians are charging up there is much less than us down near London.
Thanks, your prices were spot on and your tips saved me £££!!!
Why only rely on three or four quotes for comparison? This website called Quotation Check gathered prices from hundreds of firms for various home improvement tasks and published their findings online.
This is a really good site, plenty of no-nonsense info about prices and how much you should expect to pay.
I used their [Quotation Check’s] recommended trade finder service and am happy with the results.