Solar panel costs varies greatly, depending on the size of the project and your property. In order to take advantage of energy efficiency grants available to help towards the cost of installing solar technology, you’ll need to first ensure your property is fully energy efficient.
Photovoltaic (PV) systems
Prices for PV systems will vary depending on the size and type of the system, as well as the structure of the building where the panel will be installed. According to the
Energy Saving Trust, an average system costs between £8,000 and £14,000, with solar tiles working out more expensive than conventional solar panels.
The more electricity the system can generate, the higher the savings – but the bigger the initial outlay. A 2kWp system could provide around 40% of your annual electricity needs and cut up to £200 from your electricity bill. Our guide to energy grants has more information on how you can earn cash by making your own energy.
Solar water heating systems
Solar water heating panels typically cost between £3,000 and £5,000, and will potentially save you between £50 and £85 a year on water heating costs, with bigger savings to be reaped if you have an electric heating system.
Solar water heating panels can be added to most hot water systems
Choosing a location for your solar panel For maximum efficiency, you need to put your solar panels on a south-facing roof at a 30-degree angle to the horizontal (up to 65 degrees will still work in the UK) and away from the shadows of trees, buildings or chimneys.
Some panels require regular checks of the unit and connections, or a wipe of the panel glass with mild detergent. Bear in mind how difficult this will be when panels are up on your roof.
You’ll need to consider both the type of system and how to install it carefully to get the best solar panel system for your home.
Installing solar panel systems
A solar water-heating system involves pipe work, a thermostat and hot water cylinder, while a photovoltaic system involves inverters, switchgears, cables and more.
You can add solar water-heating panels to most existing hot water systems, though you’ll usually need to add an additional cylinder for pre-heated water, or change your existing cylinder for one with a twin coil.
It’s difficult to use a solar water heating system with a combi boiler because these are designed to take cold mains-pressure water and solar water heating systems supply low-pressure warm water. Some new combi boilers accept pre-heated water, so check with the manufacturer. The type of boiler you have is not an issue if you choose a photovoltaic system.