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Solar PV Panels

Solar photovoltaic panels are also known as solar PV panels and are used to help generate electricity for both domestic and commercial use here in the UK. They have grown in popularity in the last few years and look likely to continue to do so.

Photovoltaic (PV) cells are used in solar panels to convert electricity from the daylight that is available. This electricity is used in homes and businesses to power electrical appliances such as cookers, TVs, lights, computers and machinery. Solar power provides a renewable source of energy and is also beneficial to the environment by lowering carbon emissions that is a concern globally.

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A man on a roof.

Cost of solar PV panels

This will vary but you can expect to pay in the region of £5,100 to £6,100 for a 3kW or 4kW solar system that is the size of system the average home in the UK will need.

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We have an extensive vetted panel of MCS accredited suppliers and installers of solar PV panels. In this respect, why not get in touch and we will arrange for you to receive a number of bespoke, competitive quotations.

Solar PV panels, which currently cost between £2,750 and £8,350, have had a great decade – they’ve been installed onto the roofs of over 700,000 homes in the last ten years. Up and down the whole of the UK, even in areas not traditionally associated with year-around sunshine, households benefit from permanently lower electricity bills and the planet also benefits by a major reduction in the UK’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions.

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There’s been a lot of change in the solar PV panel market lately – and there’s more change to come. In our opinion, it’s still a great financial and social investment offering homeowners the chance to save and to contribute towards the creation of cleaner planet for future generations. In this article, we’ll tell you why we’re still very excited about it here at CompareCompanies.

We work with experienced and reputable solar PV panel installers across the UK, all eager to provide homeowners with the most complete system at the very best prices. By getting 2 quotes on your solar PV panel installation from these well-known installers, you could save up to 40% on your installation costs.

Just leave us your details using the form on this page and we’ll put you in touch with our partner installers. There’s no cost to our service and there’s no obligation to accept any quote you’re provided with. The form is at the top of this page.

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How the solar PV market grew

Much of the growth in popularity of solar PV panels was credited to the launch of the Feed In Tariff scheme in 2010 which paid homeowners an inflation-adjusted amount tax-free based upon the amount of electricity they both generated and sold back to the National Grid. That scheme was permanently closed in March 2019 leaving many homeowners who had seriously considered the idea of installing solar PV panels on their properties wondering whether they had left it too late.

Unfortunately, they did leave it too late to join the FIT scheme but the solar PV market is ever-changing, driven by a desire to maximise carbon-free energy production at a price affordable for all homeowners in the UK. Change and innovation continues to this day so the team here at CompareCompanies can say with a high degree of confidence that it’s still a great time to invest in solar PV – perhaps even better than it’s ever been and we look forward to sharing our thoughts with you on it.

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If you’re interested in the possibilities that solar panels offer you and your family, read on to find out:

  • how much solar panels cost and how they work
  • the main benefits of installing solar panels
  • the Feed-In Tariff, the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive and the Smart Export Guarantee
  • how solar panels still make economic sense for homeowners
  • the exciting solar battery driven future

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How much do solar panels cost and how do they work?

Installing solar panels onto your roof costs between £2,750 and £8,350 including VAT. Many installers are licensed credit brokers registered with the Financial Conduct Authority meaning that, should you chose to, you can spread the cost of installation over a period of up to seven years. Most loans offered to homeowners to help finance their solar PV installations are unsecured. Make sure that you ask your installer if there are any special finance deals on as an incentive at the moment including deferred initial payment plans and interest-free loans.

The two main factors in determining what you’ll need to budget for your solar panel installation are the number of panels you install onto your roof and the efficiency of those panels. The more panels and the higher the energy efficiency rating, the more you should budget.

The number of panels on your roof determines the amount of electricity generated by your solar PV installation. Each panel takes up around 4 square metres in space, each panel costs between £375 and £550, and each panel generates no less than 400kWh of electricity per hour and generally no more than 450kWh.

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Please see below a budget guide for the installation of solar PV panels on your property…

Installation size in m2 Panels on your roof Maximum power output in kWh You’ll need to budget
<14 8 2 £2,750 to £5,250
15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 12 3 £4,750 to £6,250
22 or more 16 4 £5,750 to £8,350

What are the main benefits of installing solar panels?

  • Sustainable energy
  • Long-term investment
  • Efficiency
  • Sustainable energy

    Great for environmentally-conscious homeowners

    For over 30-40 years, the governments of the world have become increasingly alarmed by the impact of the activity of mankind on the environment of the planet. Solar panels in particular benefitted from heavy investment in their development from both the public and private sector because of their proven ability to produce sustainable and cheap energy which would contribute, if installed in great enough numbers, to the fall in greenhouse gas emissions created by homeowners.

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    Long-term investment

    A long-term investment with annual returns

    Solar PV panel installations last for an impressive 20-25 years before the underlying technology within a system starts to become inefficient meaning that the panels should be replaced with newer, more advanced versions. Over that time, homeowners gain from a sizable fall in the amount of money they’re spending on their electricity bills every quarter. Bill by bill, they pay off their initial investment in this clean technology.

    The level of maintenance and after-care required on installed solar PV panels is minimal too – very handy considering that they’re installed on people’s roofs!

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    Efficiency

    Solar panels are more efficient than they’ve ever been

    As we mentioned earlier, the level of innovation in solar PV technology has been substantial and this has led to panels which are now very efficient and which produce more electricity from the same amount of exposure to UV rays than before.

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    What was the Feed-In Tariff (FIT)?

    Introduced in 2010 to encourage homeowners to invest in solar PV panels, the Feed-In Tariff system paid bonuses to households for generating electricity and for selling any surplus electricity back to the National Grid.

    Payments were made per unit of electricity generated or sold back to the Grid and these units were measured in kilowatts per hour (kWh). Payments under the system were tax free and they were guaranteed for 20 years, rising with the rate of inflation every 12 months. There were no bonuses payments per kWh for the amount of electricity either generated or sold to the Grid – it was always paid at a flat rate.

    The generation tariff

    For the energy produced by your system, the generation tariff paid around 4p for each kWh.

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    The export tariff

    The export tariff was paid at around 5p per kWH for electricity you sold back to the national Grid. The amount received by most homeowners under the export tariff was a best guess based upon a maximum of up to 50% of the energy a household generated being sold back to the National Grid.

    The end of the feed-in tariff for new installations

    The FIT scheme was closed to new applications on 31st March 2019. Any household which had had their system installed on or before that date need to send their MCS certificate to the scheme organiser before 31st March 2020 to benefit from the scheme.

    The decision was taken by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy whose officials believed that the price of solar PV panels had fallen so much that the market did not need subsidising with grants to homeowners to be able to survive.

    During the nine years in which the scheme was run, over 700,000 UK households decided to invest in solar PV panel technology and they will all enjoy the benefits of the FIT scheme adjusted for inflation for twenty years after the installation date.

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    Is there no help from government anymore for solar panels?

    There is a limited form of help available with the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive and the government have promised an announcement soon on a new scheme called the Smart Export Guarantee. Interest-free loans for solar PV and battery storage (more on that later) through Home Energy Scotland for households north of the border.

    Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

    The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is available for homeowners who use solar thermal panels to provide hot water for their property. It is not applicable to solar PV schemes, unfortunately.

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    The Smart Export Guarantee

    The Smart Export Guarantee, whose details have not yet been announced by the Government when this article was written, is similar to the export element of the old Feed-In Tariff scheme.

    What makes the proposed new system different is that energy suppliers would compete to pay you the highest price for the excess electricity generated by your home. Although industry experts do not think that payments from electricity suppliers will be as much as the combined generation and export tariffs under the old scheme, there is a belief that the gap between the two may not be that significant.

    Of course, the existence of the scheme will encourage more homeowners to install solar PV panels because they’d be receiving payment for their excess electricity whereas, at the moment, they’re not receiving anything. But that’s not the full story…

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    Does solar PV still make economic sense for homeowners?

    Yes, even in the absence of the Feed In Tariff. It is true that, over time, it will take longer to recoup the cost of your installation through savings made on your electricity bills however the Smart Export Guarantee offers homeowners interested in the technology a real financial incentive to get involved.

    But the introduction of the Smart Export Guarantee scheme may not be the thing to get most excited about. You should speak to your installer about the booming demand for solar batteries.

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    Solar batteries look very promising

    Solar battery technology – technology allowing the reliable and temporary storage of electricity – has developed at a rapid speed over the last decade. What’s been driving this development is primarily the interest shown by governments and consumers in the mass production of hybrid and electric cars and the need to be able to charge them quickly.

    Instead of feeding surplus electricity back to the Grid for sale, batteries can be programmed to store the excess energy created by your solar PV panels for later use by your household. Over time, the power in the battery stores up reducing the need to buy in more electricity from the Grid – so your bills become dramatically smaller.

    No matter how much the competition between energy suppliers hots up to buy your surplus electricity, you are always going to pay them more for the provision of your electricity than they are going to pay you. The Smart Export Guarantee means you will sell your electricity at wholesale rates while your electricity company will continue to charge you retail rates when you draw power from the Grid.

    That’s why we’re so excited about solar batteries. The bigger the battery you install with the greater capacity to store more electricity, your bills will fall at a much faster rate than if you were selling your electricity – all this means is that you pay back the cost of the installation of your solar PV panels and solar battery even faster.

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    With solar batteries, your household may:

    • become electricity self-sufficient – freed from the expense and worry of ever-spiralling inflation in energy costs. Your home will also continue to run on electricity while your neighbours live in darkness during a blackout
    • benefit from continual upgrades – your battery will be part of the “Internet of Things” meaning that it receives updates automatically to further improve performance
    • only draw on the cheapest Grid electricity – many batteries now know only to top up during off-peak hours on Time-of-Use tariffs

    Think about it. You and your family are out during most of the day at work or at school – just the time when your solar PV panels are generating the most electricity. Your battery, instead of selling them for wholesale rates back to the Grid, will store that electricity for you and your family to use during peak times.

    Better still, breakthroughs in manufacturing techniques and competition between those manufacturers and those installers are causing year on year reductions in the cost of solar batteries.

    Talk to our experienced partner installers about solar PV panels and solar batteries for your home

    We work in partnership with hundreds of different partner installers across the UK, all of whom we’ve checked and verified are members of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). That’s the government body overseeing the installation of renewable energy systems in people’s homes and businesses.

    Every home and every family is different meaning that it’s always best to get expert help and advice choosing the best solar PV panels and solar battery for your household. Fill in the form at the top of this page and we’ll put you in touch with 2 experienced and trusted suppliers who will visit your home and answer all the questions you have.

    We don’t charge for our service and you’re under no obligation whatsoever to accept any of the quotes offered. The form you need to get started is at the top of this page.

    Your questions answered

    How many solar panels are needed for an average house?

    For an average property housing two adults, it is estimated that you will need eight solar panels. This will usually cost between £3000 and £5000 on average.

    Can I benefit from solar panels?

    Domestic and commercial properties alike can benefit from solar panels, and generating your own electricity through solar power can save you money in the long-term.

    Are solar panels a popular home investment?

    In the last 10 years, solar panels have been installed onto the roofs of over 700,000 homes in the UK. They are a worthwhile investment to consider as they can save you money on your bills.

    Do solar panels help the environment?

    Even in the UK, in areas that are not traditionally associated with sunshine all through the year, solar panels can help you lower your energy bills and reduce the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.

    How long do solar panels last for?

    Solar panels last for up to 20-25 years before the technology they use becomes inefficient. They will work over this period of time to save you money and make back your initial investment.

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