Solar technology is becoming more popular amongst homeowners each year. In fact it is believed that by 2020, around 10 million homes in the UK will have installed solar panels. This is in part a reflection of the drop in price of the cost of solar panels. The technology is not only becoming more aesthetically pleasing for proud homeowners, it is also becoming smarter, more innovative and more efficient at converting sunlight to energy. For many people it is the safe choice when switching to renewable energy. It is well-trodden technology and there is a large choice of solar energy installers which makes the market competitive. But how much do solar panels cost to install and why is there a variation in cost between installers?
Solar panel cost
In a nutshell, domestic solar PV panels can usually be installed for a cost of between £5000 – £8000. Obviously domestic customers have a smaller solar energy requirement than commercial customers and this is reflected in the cost. The overall price of installing solar PV systems comprises of:
Solar PV panels
The panels themselves are the most expensive part of the system. There are cheap solar panels on the market which can make the whole installation cheaper. In fact, Ikea is now selling cheap solar panels. However, when considering cheaper solar panels, it is wise to consider how efficient the panel will be. Cheaper panels generate less energy – they are less efficient. So whilst the installation cost will be lower, so will your return on investment over the long term.
This converts the direct current (DC) generated by the solar PV panel into an alternating current (AC) which can be used by the customer.
This is the kit which is required to actually mount the panels onto the roof of your property.
The solar panel installer should have the experience and skill to be able to advise you of the number and size of panels which would be most appropriate for your property. They should be able to tell you in detail the amount of energy that you will generate based on the specification. They should take into account the position of your roof, the size of the panels, the space you have available, and the shade that is around the property.
What about free solar panels?
Schemes where you can get free solar panels are rarer now, but in essence, the solar panels are installed for free onto your property. In this case, the customer gets to use the free electricity generated from the solar panels, but the government’s feed-in-tariff payments goes to the installer. This might sound like a good deal initially, but the fact that you are renting out your roof and don’t actually own the installation is something to consider. There is a handy calculator which you can use to see how much you would receive in payments through the FIT. Free solar panels are most suitable for homeowners who don’t have disposable income of around £8000 to invest. However, finance loan deals can be investigated. Adding it to the mortgage is another option which may make better sense in the long term.
Any other costs?
In Scotland, most domestic solar panel installations do not require planning permission – but it is a good idea to check with your local authority. You should also tell your insurance provider that you are considering installing solar PV panels to confirm what will be covered and what will not.
There will be an annual cost for servicing your system to ensure that it is working efficiently to generate as much free energy as possible. There may be a call-out charge if your system stops working for whatever reason. A service contract with your installer may be a wise choice for budgeting with costs.
Cleaning your solar panels isn’t really necessary. And in Scotland, Mother Nature takes care of cleaning the panels! Only if there are serious issues with obstruction should cleaning be necessary.
Solar panels are a reliable and sound investment for your home and the cost is becoming less prohibitive. If you live in Scotland, find out more about installing solar panels in your home by contacting us and we will provide honest, sensible information for you to consider.