We previously looked at how you can take a more environmentally friendly approach by installing EV charger in your property. In this article, we look at a different aspect, i.e. installing solar panels. Solar panel installation costs have never been cheaper! And with increasing interest and demand, the cost of modern solar panels is decreasing, making them more cost-effective than ever. Many thousands of homeowners are adding solar panels to their homes – the UK’s solar capacity has increased dramatically in the last few years with over 1 million new installations since 2010.
This article will give you an overview of the costs associated with installing solar panels and factors that can affect that cost. We’ll also take a look at some frequently asked questions relating to the installation and maintenance of solar panels.
Average solar installation costs
The average cost for fitting solar panels in the UK can range between £2,000 – £18,000. They largely depend on the power requirement, size of the panels and the type of solar panels you choose (polycrystalline & monocrystalline).
This covers materials, labour, and the cost of a solar inverter. Most people choose to have their panels fitted on the roof of their home with some being able to be placed on the ground instead or on another building close by like an outbuilding or garden shed.
The table below outlines the cost of installing the panels for various scenarios. You’ll notice that the average solar panel installation costs is approximately £6,000.
|House Size||System Size (Power)||Polycrystalline Setup Cost (Low/Mid-Range)||Monocrystalline Setup Cost (High-end)|
|Small Array For Flat or Terraced House||8m² (1kW – 1.5kW)||£2,500 – £3,000||£3,500 – £4,500|
|Small to Medium Semi-Detached||15m² (2kWp – 2.5kW)||£4,000 – £6,000||£5,000 – £8,000|
|Medium to Large Semi/Detached||21m²- 28m² (3kW – 4kW)||£5,000 – £9,000||£6,000 – £12,000|
|Large Detached +||28m²+ (4kW – 6kW)||£5,000 – £14,000||£8,000 – £18,000|
Additional costs of installing solar panels
Upon installing the solar panels, there may be other related costs that you would need to incur which in most cases would be optional. Some of these would enhance the efficiency of the panels or may even be required for regular maintenance.
Examples of solar panel enhancements include:
- Solar batteries – £1,200 – £6,000 depending on the capacity.
- Solar thermal systems – £3,000 – £6,000
- Special water tank – £2000 – £4000
- Solar panel inverter – £1000 – £15,000
Below is a list of some additional costs that you may need to consider when it comes to solar panel maintenance:
- Solar panel cleaning – £3-£10 per panel
- Repairs and maintenance – £140-£400 per panel
Labour cost of installing solar panels
The cost of solar panels is often a key concern when deciding whether or not to go ahead with the project. Depending on the size of the job, solar panels will usually take around 2-3 days to install.
The average solar panel installation contractor will usually charge around £150-£200 per hour. As you can see, the prices for labour can easily add up for larger jobs. Most contractors will incorporate the price of labour into the overall cost of the job.
The timescales can change that can in turn affect cost of labour. For example, if your roof is in poor condition, it may need to be fixed before installing solar panels. Alternatively, if the roof is not easily accessible, you might require scaffolding which can take longer to install.
Cost to remove solar panels
Some people live in areas that are not suited to a solar panel system. In these cases, it is often best to hire an experienced professional to remove your current solar system and install a new one in another location. The average cost for solar panel removal is around £300-£500, plus an additional £100 to disconnect the panels from your electrical system.
Although you can recycle your solar panels, it is not advisable to throw them away. If you are completely removing your solar panels and wish to have them disposed of, this could cost an additional £150-£200 for the cost of waste disposal.
Factors that affect solar panel installation costs
Solar System Power
Solar panels come in all manner of sizes, but the size of the installation you can have is usually limited only by your roof space. The average solar system for a 3-bed and 4-bed semi-detached or detached house is around 4kW. This means a single panel would produce about 500W, so twelve would make a 5kW system (although you should never assume that all panels will generate at their maximum power)
Quality and types of panels
Not all panels are built the same. The efficiency rating of a solar panel indicates how well it converts light into electricity, with more efficient panels costing more money.
There are two main panel types; polycrystalline and monocrystalline, with the latter being the latest technology. They cost generally around 25% to 50% more for the highest-end panels.
While it may seem more cost-effective to buy cheaper panels with a lower efficiency rating, they will produce lower output per panel than those with higher efficiencies.
Depending on the size of the house, the number of panels required would change too. If you want to cover a larger area, you would need more panels to fill up the space. Also, depending on the amount of sunlight that you receive, you may need to install enough panels to match up to your requirements.
If you require more customizations such as solar battery, thermal stations, inverters installed, the solar panel installation costs can increase. For instance, solar panel batteries and inverters are fixed to ensure you store the excess power generated from the solar panels.
Though this may be an additional cost, in case you consume less power than that is generated, you can sell them back to the grid and earn some money out of it.
Solar panels and SEG scheme
Solar panels are being incentivised by the government already, but in the future, there may be even greater encouragement (or even pressure) for homeowners to make the switch to renewables.
The SEG scheme is currently offered in partnership with energy companies, to incentivise homeowners that contribute green or renewable energy to the National Grid.
Homeowners can receive a tariff for any excess solar power generated and used by their home – this could be used for your own home use or exported back to the grid for general usage. This is just one saving – the other saving is that your solar power is obviously yours to use if you want to – and thus knocks money off your energy bills!
The SEG rate varies between 1p and 20p depending on the energy supplier. Social Energy, Tesla (via Octopus Energy), Octopus Energy, E.on and Bulb currently pay rates of 4p and above (Source: Money Saving Expert)
SEG requires that a property be fitted with solar panels certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The property will also need a smart metre capable of uploading data to your energy supplier every half an hour.
Benefits of installing a solar panel
Provides a positive return on investment
Solar panels can really help you save money because you’ll use less energy from the grid and, therefore, save money on your energy bills. Though the initial investment may seem high, overtime, you can recover investment in the form of reduction in your energy bills.
Whether it’s a home or business, they are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the environment.
Solar-powered energy is among the cleanest and renewable energy sources available today. This is why it is so important. By installing solar panels on your roof or by using solar powered appliances, you can save money on electricity bills while helping the environment with minimal effort.
Solar panels are easy to install and maintain, and good for the environment. You can make your investment back in as little as 10 years, without needing to do any maintenance except for cleaning the panels occasionally (which is easy). They also last for decades.
Should you install a solar panel on your property?
The answer largely depends on quite a few things:
- It’s a long term investment, so do you intend on staying in the property for at least 15 years?
- Do you live in a location that gets a lot of sunlight?
- Are you conscious of the environment and wish to lessen your carbon emissions?
- Are you willing to adjust your energy usage habits to get the most out of your panels
- Is the home equipped with eco-friendly measures of quality insulation?
If you’ve answered yes to most of the questions above, it might be worth installing a solar panel. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to get a professional to consult you on the best course of action. Afterall, you wouldn’t want to invest so much in a solar panel and not make good use of it.
For free consultation, you can always get in touch with our professionals at Complete Electricians. We provide a no obligation quotation as well.