In recent years, solar energy has emerged as a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional power sources. As concerns about climate change grow, more and more homeowners in the UK are turning to solar panel installations to reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy bills. If you’re considering making the switch to solar, it’s important to understand the costs involved and what you can expect in your local area. In this blog post, we’ll break down the factors that influence solar panel installation costs and provide insights specific to the UK market.
The Factors that Influence Solar Panel Installation Costs
- System Size
The size of your solar panel system is one of the most significant factors affecting the overall cost. Larger systems with more panels can generate more electricity, but they also come with a higher upfront cost. It’s crucial to strike a balance between your energy needs and your budget.
Where you live can impact the cost of your solar panel installation. Factors like local regulations, permitting fees, and even the cost of living in your area can all play a role. Additionally, the angle and orientation of your roof can affect the complexity of the installation process, which may influence the overall cost.
- Roof Condition
The condition and material of your roof can also affect installation costs. For example, installing solar panels on a slate roof might require specialized equipment and expertise, also the installation may take longer which in turn could potentially add to the overall labour cost.
- Inverter Type
Inverters are crucial components that convert the DC electricity generated by your solar panels into
AC electricity for use in your home. There are different types of inverters, each with its own cost.
String inverters are typically less expensive than hybrid inverters, while micro-inverters or power optimisers increase the efficiency of a solar PV system but will add an additional cost to the system. With an AC-coupled system, any electricity that is stored in the battery needs to be inverted three separate times before it can be used in your home – once from the panels to the inverter, again from the inverter to the battery, and one final time from the battery to your home appliances. It can be cheaper to install a new hybrid inverter with a DC coupled battery than retrofitting an AC coupled battery to an existing system, as only one inverter and install is needed.
- Mounting Type
There are different mounting options for solar panels, including roof-mounted and ground-mounted systems. Roof-mounted systems are more common and tend to be less expensive, but they rely on the condition and orientation of your roof. Ground-mounted systems offer more flexibility in terms of placement but may come with higher installation costs, as well as requiring more space.
Understanding UK-Specific Costs
- Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Scheme
In the UK, the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme, which paid homeowners for the excess electricity they generated and fed back into the grid, has been closed to new applicants. However, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) now allows homeowners to receive payments for excess electricity exported to the grid, though rates may vary depending on your energy provider.
- VAT Rates
The standard VAT rate for solar panel installations in the UK is usually 5%. However, between April 2022 and 2027, the government has declared that they have cut the VAT from 5% to 0% on installation of energy efficient systems, such as solar panels. After 2027, the use of some energy-saving materials and technologies may qualify for a reduced rate of VAT, but it’s important to consult with your installer to ensure you’re eligible for any applicable VAT reductions at that time.
Investing in solar panels is not only a smart financial decision, but it also contributes to a more sustainable future. Understanding the factors that influence installation costs and being aware of the specific considerations in your area can help you make an informed decision about transitioning to solar energy. If you’re considering a solar panel installation, BB Electrical is here to guide you through the process and provide you with a tailored solution that meets your energy needs and budget. Get in touch today for more information.