How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

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✅ It typically costs £786 to buy and install one 350 w solar panel

✅ You’ll spend around £7,860 for a solar system suitable for a three-bedroom house

✅ Switching to solar will shrink your electricity costs by 70% on average

Thinking of switching to solar power? Right now is the best time to adopt solar panels — since 2010, the cost for solar panels has dropped by 82% (data from the International Renewable Agency). 

Factor in the rising cost of electricity and solar panels start to look even more appealing. You could slash your energy bills by £537 every year. That’s an annual saving of roughly 70%, which in the context of an energy and cost of living crisis is huge

As for break-even points, you’ll recoup the costs of a solar panel system in just 14.6 years on average. Based on the typical solar panel lifespan of 25 years or more, you’re going to be benefiting from a minimum of 10 years in profit. 

It’s little wonder over 1.4 million UK homes have decided to install solar panels (MCS dashboard, 2024). 

If you’re already convinced on getting solar panels, we can help you compare prices with our easy-to-understand form. All you need to do is enter a few quick details about your home, and we’ll put you in touch with our expert installers. They’ll get in touch with bespoke solar panel quotes for you to compare.

How much do solar panels cost based on house size?

We’ve based these prices on the latest data from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and the average electricity cost in the UK from January to March 2024. They’re also based on Ofgem’s latest domestic consumption values. Please note that more complex installations can cost more. Additionally, the costs above do not include the added cost of a solar battery.

How much will it cost to install a solar panel system?

Solar panel systems cost around £7,860 on average for a typical three-bedroom home. 

This is the usual cost of a 3.5 kilowatt-peak (kWp) solar system — generally the best-sized system for a three-bedroom home in the UK. 

For context, kilowatt peak is the unit used to measure a solar panel system’s power output. We use it to demonstrate how much electricity a solar panel or solar array can generate in ideal conditions. With that in mind, you should note that a 3.5 kWp system is unlikely to consistently meet that power output.

How much will it cost to install a solar panel system?

Solar panel systems cost around £7,860 on average for a typical three-bedroom home. 

This is the usual cost of a 3.5 kilowatt-peak (kWp) solar system — generally the best-sized system for a three-bedroom home in the UK. 

For context, kilowatt peak is the unit used to measure a solar panel system’s power output. We use it to demonstrate how much electricity a solar panel or solar array can generate in ideal conditions. With that in mind, you should note that a 3.5 kWp system is unlikely to consistently meet that power output.

Expect to pay approximately £2,246 per kWp.

Looking at our table above, you can see that a one or two bedroom home will do just fine with a 2.1 kWp system. This’ll cost around £4,700.

People living in four or five-bedroom households will usually expect to pay around £11,000 on a 4.9 kWp system, which’ll provide plenty of power throughout the year. We sourced this data from the MCS.

Be aware that there are lots of factors that affect the total cost of a solar panel system. You could easily end up paying less or more than the numbers above, so use them as a guideline rather than a definitive answer. Everyone’s home and situation is different after all!

Accordingly, every solar panel system is effectively a custom-built solution to a home’s energy needs. So what you pay will be unique as factors such as the size and angle of your roof, what material it’s made from, what electric cable setup you have, and more can all affect the final price.

Going for high-efficiency solar panels, as an example, will increase the price. In our experience however, it’s almost always worth opting for them as their superior power output will help your home generate more electricity, and shrink your energy bills more in turn.

How much does it cost to add a battery?

Adding a solar battery to a solar system for a three-bedroom home will cost around £4,500.

Solar batteries let you store any excess electricity you generate with your solar system during the day, so you can continue to benefit from free, clean energy after the sun sets.

A big bonus to having a solar battery is that you’ll be able to use an additional 30% of your solar energy. Most people aren’t at home during the day, so a lot of the potential of solar panels is missed out on. 

The downside though is that the high cost of solar batteries means you’ll need another decade or so to break even. This is because solar batteries usually only last around 12 years, meaning you’ll need to purchase at least two batteries during the typical 25-30-year lifespan of a solar panel system.

Take a look at the table below for an idea on what solar-plus-storage might cost you:

Smaller homes can expect to pay roughly £2,500 to add a solar battery to a solar panel system installation, and larger properties will generally spend an extra £8,000 to add a battery. 

Larger batteries will store more electricity, meaning they can either power a home for longer, or meet higher power demands. You’ll naturally pay more for these benefits. 

Additionally, if you live somewhere with an unreliable power supply, there are batteries available that’ll power your home in the event of a power cut. Be aware that not all storage batteries work this way, so you can’t just buy any solar battery and expect it to keep your home running when the power goes.

What affects the cost of installing solar panels?

The total cost of installing a solar panel system is affected by what your installer charges for parts, business costs, and labour. The number of solar panels you install doesn’t actually affect the installation cost that much. 

Parts are the materials used, including the solar panels themselves, inverters, required cables, etc.

Business costs include your installer’s overheads, such as acquiring planning approval, setting up scaffolding, any vehicle or travel expenses, those sorts of things.

Labour is the physical labour needed to actually install the solar panel system. This will typically take no more than a day, or roughly four to six hours total. 

Costs of the materials — £3,500

Around 45% of the cost of installing solar panels is made up of buying the materials. This includes the solar panels, the brackets needed to hold them, and the inverter required to convert sunlight into usable electricity.

You’ll spend around £3,500 if you live in a typical three-bedroom home. The cost will rise if your home requires additional materials such as a mounting bracket, which is needed if your roof is flat.

Additionally, installers generally mark up the basic cost of materials by 30% to make a profit, which might make you think it’s a better idea to purchase the materials yourself. However, they’re able to get access to trade prices, which means they pay less overall.

It’s best to leave it all to the professionals at the end of the day. They’ll know exactly what materials to buy to meet the unique requirements of your home, which they’ll determine after a thorough inspection of your property’s characteristics. 

The business costs – £2,800

35% of the installation price will go towards your installer’s business costs. It’s tricky (and pricey) work putting a solar panel system on your roof, so you’ll need to cover expenses including regulatory approvals, vehicles (including fuel), and the scaffolding. 

This comes to around £2,800 to install a typical 3.5 kWp solar panel system for a three-bedroom home.

The labour costs – £1,550

The remaining 20% or so of costs goes on paying the people who will physically install your solar panel system. 

This rough estimate includes all types of domestic installations, although expect the price to increase to approximately £2,200 for installations with 20 panels or more.

When comparing installation costs between suppliers, it’s a good idea to get prices from around five installers. You should also check their Trustpilot reviews in case there’s any obvious red flags.

How much money can solar panels save you?

Installing a solar panel system will slash your electricity bill by 70%, or thereabouts. That’s a yearly saving or £300 to £800 for most UK properties — based on current electricity prices, and the best nationwide Smart Export Guarantee rate (ScottishPower, 12p per kWh).

With each home being different, there are several factors that can impact what you’ll save each year with solar panels. These include:

  • How big your solar panel system is
  • Your annual electricity consumption
  • How efficient your solar panels are
  • Your Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) rate


To expand on the SEG, it’s a government scheme that allows you to earn money by exporting any excess electricity your solar panels generate to the grid. You’ll get paid for each kilowatt hour of solar-generated electricity you don’t use. Pretty nifty right?

The rates aren’t universal however, with energy suppliers all offering different rates per kWh. 

A three-bedroom home without the SEG will save around £379 a year on energy bills with a typical 3.5 kWp system (10 solar panels). With the SEG, this same home will save roughly £537 — that’s £159 in SEG payments, so it’s definitely worth considering.

If you have a solar battery installed, you’ll naturally export less electricity back to the grid because you’ll be using more of the solar energy you generate for yourself. Your SEG payments will be lower as a result (approximately £63 per year), but you will get the benefit of paying less for electricity from the grid.

Your annual savings will go up by around £227 to bring the total savings to £606 with a solar battery. Please be aware that the high upfront cost of a solar battery means you’ll still see a higher break-even point than if you just opted for solar panels alone.

What is the break-even point on solar panels?

We discovered that the average UK household will break even on a solar panel system in 14.6 years. 

Most solar panels last at least 25 years or more, so the moment you break even, it’s pure profit from that point onwards. According to our calculations, a typical three-bedroom home will end up making £5,571 in profit after 25 years. That’s money saved on energy bills, and money earned from exporting excess electricity via the SEG.

Solar panel costs by roof space used

It costs around £643 per square metre (m²) of space taken up for solar panels, on average. This includes installation costs (such as scaffolding), which subsequently means the cost per m² drops as you add more solar panels.

You should consider installing all the panels you expect to need at the same time because of this. 

How long does it take to install solar panels?

The average solar panel installation takes no more than one to two days, with many installations taking no more than six hours or so. 

Much larger installations, typically those with 14 or more solar panels, can take up to four days, but this isn’t common. 

Don’t worry if your installers have been there for a few hours and you don’t see any solar panels on your roof — much of the installation time includes erecting the scaffolding!

What’s the best way to reduce the cost of solar panels?

Want to reduce the cost of your solar panels? Take a look at some of the best options available:

  • The ECO4 scheme — this UK government scheme allows energy poor households on certain benefits to get funding towards solar panels. This can be either partial or complete funding for a solar system.
  • Solar Together — you can save between 30% and 35% on the cost of solar panels with this group-buying scheme. Search online for Solar Together with your location to see if the scheme is currently available in your area.
  • Home Energy Scotland loan — if you live in Scotland, you could get an interest-free loan for a solar panel system with this scheme.
  • Home Upgrade Grant — another scheme by the UK government designed to help low-income households. Off-grid homes can also apply — have a look at the government page to see if your home is eligible.

Are solar panels available on finance?

Yes, solar panels are available on finance and there are a number of established companies offering this. Here’s a list of some of the companies currently offering finance for solar panels:

  • Scottish Power 
  • E.ON
  • Sunsave
  • Solar Style UK
  • Effective Home

As an example, Effective Home offers solar panels on finance for £89.27 per month at 10.9% APR. Options like this make it easier for households who might not be able to afford the upfront cost of solar panels to benefit from clean energy. 

What else affects the cost of solar panels?

Here are three key factors that affect what you’ll pay for solar panels:

  • Solar panel type — more efficient solar panels, such as monocrystalline panels, are more expensive. It’s almost always worth opting for monocrystalline if you can, because the higher efficiency will use less roof space and generate more electricity. Speaking of efficiency…
  • Efficiency — the more efficient a solar panel is, the more sunlight it can convert into electricity. Naturally, you’ll pay more for panels that are more efficient.
  • How many panels — simply put, the more solar panels you get, the more materials used, which means the cost will be higher.

The above should be used as a guideline, even if it’s a well-informed guideline. Every home is unique and ultimately, so is each price. 

Future solar panel costs

Although solar panels require very little maintenance once they’re installed, you should still be aware of future costs:

Replacing the inverter

The inverter is an essential part of your solar panel system. It works to convert the direct current (DC) electricity your solar panels generate from sunlight into alternating current (AC) that you can use to power your home. 

Simply put, without an inverter your solar panels won’t work. 

So you’ll have to replace the inverter once it stops working, which typically happens after 10 years or so. This will cost you between £500 and £1,000 and you’ll need to do this at least twice within the average 25-year lifespan of your solar panels.

Solar panel maintenance and repair

However unlikely, your solar panels could break or be damaged by accident (trees falling onto your panels, or wildlife chewing through wires, for example). If this happens you’ll need to hire a professional solar panel repair company to fix them, which can cost around £100 for small breakages, up to around £1,500 for extensive repairs.

If you have a good warranty for your solar system, repairs and maintenance might be included (or at least, some of the costs could be covered).

Cleaning your panels

Thankfully, there’s more than enough rain in the UK to keep solar panels generally clean, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need cleaning on occasion. 

In the summer for example, dust can build up on solar panels and reduce their efficiency, meaning they’ll generate less electricity. You’ll want to give them a clean at this point, either by using a hose or by hiring a professional (typically costing around £100). 

What to consider before buying solar panels

There’s a few things you should consider before you purchase a solar panel system. Keep the following questions in mind before you complete a purchase:

What size solar panel system do you need?

Work out how much electricity you use each year, which you can do by checking your energy bill. It’ll show you how much electricity you use each month. Simply multiply this by 12, then divide by 400 watts, which is the average power rating of commercially available solar panels.

Can your roof support solar panels?

Check to see if your roof is at the best angle and direction for solar panels — the optimal angle is between 20° and 50°. For the best direction, south-facing solar panels will always be able to generate more electricity. East or west-facing panels are sufficient too.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t meet these conditions, especially if you have a flat roof. Solar panels can always be mounted and positioned at the optimal angle.

Should you get a structural inspection of your roof?

A solar system with 10 panels will weigh around 200 kilograms, so it’s a good idea to check to see if your roof can support this. Installers will always conduct a thorough inspection of your roof to ensure it can hold a solar panel system safely.

Is a solar battery right for you?

Getting a solar battery means being able to use more of the energy your solar panels generate, but it’ll add around a decade onto the break-even point of your solar system. Batteries cost around £4,500 on average and last roughly 12 years, so you’ll need to get two within the typical 25-year lifespan of your solar panels. 

Not getting a battery means you can export all of the excess electricity generated back to the grid via the SEG. You’ll make some money from this, but it’s not massive — most UK homes will make around £150 each year from SEG exports.

If you want to export excess electricity via the SEG, make sure you set this up before you install your solar panels. You’ll also need a smart meter.

Have you compared installers?

You should always compare more than one installer to see how much their prices differ. Don’t simply pick the first installer you find, spend a little extra time to see what different installers offer and choose the one that feels right for you.

Conclusion

You’ve got a good idea now of what solar panels cost. So if you’re ready to find an installer, we can help you compare prices. Simply enter a few details about your home, and we’ll put you in touch with our expert installers. 

They’ll get back to you with bespoke solar panel quotes to compare. 

How Much Money Can You Save With Solar?

Save up to 90% on your electricity bill
Sell excess energy back to the grid
Increase the value of your home

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