How much do Solar Panels Cost?
How much Solar Panels cost to install is often one of the first questions customers ask us when they’re considering installing Solar PV for their home, business or farm. So we’ve pulled together a guide to provide a bit more information on the cost and the financial benefits.
How much do solar panels cost to install?
Since the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) was launched in 2010, uptake of solar PV panels has soared. As a result, costs are tumbling – a 4kW system that 12 months ago might have cost you close to £10,000 can now be had for anywhere between £4,000-£6,000.
Not every solar PV system is equal – so it’s best to look into the manufacturers, the warranties of the specified products and of course the company you may choose to deal with (product knowledge, advice, service, whether they are MCS certified etc) to ensure you’re getting good value on your new or upgraded solar panel system.
What are Solar PV Panels?
Solar panels are commonly known as PV (Photovoltaic) panels. Fundamentally, solar PV systems transform daylight into useable electricity, thereby taking advantage of a free resource to help you save money on ever-rising utility bills. They use photo cells to convert solar radiation into electricity. The PV cell consists of layers of a semi conducting material, usually silicon. When sunlight shines on the cell it creates an electrical field across the layers, causing electricity to flow. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced.
What are the financial benefits?
Solar photovoltaics not only save you money on ever-rising utility bills, but also pay you back for every unit of electricity you generate. This means you will receive a guaranteed 20 year income from your solar panels. You are paid for 100% of the electricity the system generates, even if you use 100% of it yourself!
However you are also paid for any electricity which is generated but not used and it is then automatically exported back to the National Grid. This payment is fixed at a 50% deemed export figure for domestic systems and for those systems up to 30kW. For larger systems the export output is measured. On average a 4kW system will pay back between £600 to £800 per year, including you electricity savings, from the FIT. This means that you will have a return on your investment in around 10 years and have another 10 years use of the panels, generating you around £700-£800 income each year.
To find out more about FIT from an objective source visit: https://www.gov.uk/feed-in-tariffs/overview.
Where can solar panels be installed?
Most domestic solar photovoltaic panels are fitted to the property’s roof, ideally one that’s on a south-facing elevation and offers a 30 to 40° pitch to maximise the array’s exposure to light. Fitting the PV modules is a fairly painless process, and most jobs can be completed in just one day.
There are two main options for installing the panels. The first is an ‘on-roof’ system, where the modules are fitted to a framework that’s anchored to the rafters. This method is particularly suited to retrofits, as it involves minimal disruption.
If your roof is tiled, these will need to be lifted, the anchors fixed and the tiles replaced before the mount is attached. The second option is an ‘in-roof’ or integrated system, which is often preferred for new builds or big renovation projects where the structure is already being re-roofed. With this method, the panels are fitted on the same plane as the roof covering for a sleeker finish, with a flashing kit used to provide waterproofing.
I don’t have a pitched roof can I still have Solar Panels?
Alternatives include ground-mounted panels (which literally sit in a frame in your garden) or flat roof installations. In the latter case, the modules are usually fitted at a greater pitch than the roof to maximise the amount of strong daylight to which they’re exposed.
To find out more, or to arrange a free site survey, read our solar panel page, speak to one of our experts on 01603 406052 or contact us for help.