Run by the sun
Run by the sun

Buying advice: what is the cost of solar panels in the UK in 2016?

Tuesday 22 March 2016

As a renewable energy resource, solar energy can be used in a variety of ways, from heating and cooling homes, powering cars and offices, narrow boats, appliances, street lights and a range of gadgets and tools. There is no doubting solar has the ability to enhance the way we live.

PV solar as a technology has been around since the mid 1950s, but its prominence in the UK has only really developed over the last 5 years. In 2014, the UK solar energy market almost doubled in installations in that year alone, ranging from solar farms and solar panels on homes. As solar’s popularity has increased, the cost of installing solar power has decreased. In our latest blog, we take a look at the typical cost you can expect to pay for a PV solar system and give you an insight into some of the other financial considerations to be aware of.

The cost of solar panels continues to fall

The intention of the Feed In Tariff was to offer financial support to early adopters of PV solar systems. As the cost of solar panels has fallen, naturally there has also been a reduction in the government’s FIT scheme. A survey of 1,530 Which? Magazine readers in July 2015 who had purchased solar panels since 2011 demonstrates this decrease in price overtime. The cost of a domestic PV solar system between 3.6 – 4 kWp would have cost around double the price just 4 years ago. On average, depending on the equipment used, a typical 4kWp PV solar system costs between £6,000-7,000 which could pay for itself in 7-8 years. The former minister of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker suggests solar panels are 30% cheaper than originally projected. 

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A PV solar system is a financial asset to a property

The issue with buying or selling a property with solar panels is that in some cases estate agents are not recognising the value of a PV solar system. What is certain is that a PV solar system will only improve the value of your property rather than depreciate it.  In fact, a third of the UK’s population would be willing to pay more for a house with PV solar installed.  How much value is added to the property depends on when the system was installed and also what the system consists of – was the system installed with micro inverters or string inverters?

Should you inherit a PV solar panels when buying a new home, you also inherit and benefit from the FIT payments and of course free electricity. With this in mind, it’s clear as to why solar energy is a sound financial investment regardless of whether you plan to move home or business.

Energy storage batteries to become energy independent

We've talked in previous blogs about energy storage batteries which enable homeowners with solar panels to store excess energy generated during more off peak times to be used during peak periods - typically the morning and during the evening when solar panels are not working at their best. Prices in energy storage batteries really vary depending on make and model, however the issue of Feed In Tariff rates become less of a concern since the majority of surplus energy is stored.