Solar panels for the home is a growing trend worldwide, as more and more countries switch on to the need for renewable energy.
More households are looking to go greener to cut energy bills as the energy crisis has taken its toll over the past two years. Even though the energy price cap went down by an average of 7% from 1 October, bills will still be double compared to last winter.
Although the initial outlay can be pricey, solar panels for the home are a viable way of cutting your electricity bills. Plus they allow you to do your bit towards the goal of living sustainably, or at least reducing the carbon footprint in your home.
Here we shine a light on solar panels, and what you should look for when doing an energy comparison if you already have some installed. Also, you can find out whether solar panels are worth it for you.
Plus for clever ways to reduce your gas and electricity bills, see our energy saving tips.
How much does it cost to install solar panels?
According to the Eco Experts, solar panels cost £2,246 per kWp, on average. So here’s how much it could cost to install solar panels for a home based on the size.
- A one-two bedroom home requires a 2.1 kWp system, costing around £4,700
- A four-five bedroom home requires a 4.9kWp system, costing around £11,000
To ensure you get the correct sized system for your home, it’s important to look for an MCS certified installer.
How much can I save on my energy bills using solar panels?
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical household using a 3.5 kilowatt-peak system could save the following per year on their energy bills:
- London: between £335 and £525
- Manchester: between £305 and £485
- Stirling: between £285 and £460
- Aberystwyth: between £310 and £495
- Belfast: between £310 and £495
Savings shown are with Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
But it’s important to note, it could take between 14 to 22 years to break even (cover the cost of solar panel installation).
The savings you make will depend on the system size you install and how much electricity is used. For example, if you work from home, you will be using far more electricity in the day compared to someone who works in an office five days a week.
Enter your details into the Energy Saving Trust’s solar panel calculator for an estimate of how long it’ll take to break even.
What is the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme?
The SEG scheme is a type of tariff available to households in England, Scotland and Wales by energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers. Each of these energy suppliers should offer at least one SEG tariff according to the Energy Saving Trust. The tariff pays for each kWh of electricity generated from solar panels and exported back to the grid.
What you’ll be paid for exporting electricity on a SEG tariff varies per supplier, and can be fixed or variable, so make sure you’re going for the highest payer possible.
This scheme came into place on 1 January 2020.
These are the main advantages of harnessing solar power for your home:
You also need to consider if you have enough space for solar panels. According to Energy Saving Trust (EST), the average system size is around 3.5kWp which takes up approximately 20m squared roof area. Plus, they suggest for optimal output, a south-facing roof is ideal. The EST does not recommend north-facing roofs.
It’s also possible that your system could overheat. This can be fixed by connecting extra modules.
Ready to switch?
One thing to bear in mind though is SEG rates available. Before committing to an energy supplier, check to see if their SEG rates will give you a good return on your solar energy supply. This way the planet wins, and so does your bank balance.
And if you’re wondering if now is a good time to fix your energy as more fixed tariffs are coming back on the market, we’ve all you need to know in our guide.
What other ways can I warm my home for less?
There are several ways to heat your home without breaking the bank. Here are a few suggestions:
- Which is cheaper: leaving the heating on low all day or using timed bursts?
- Is it better to heat a room with underfloor heating or a regular radiator?
- See if you’re eligible for free or subsidised insulation with the Great British Insulation Scheme.
- To stop losing heat from the roof, find out how to insulate your loft.
- Heated airer or dehumidifier: which is the best way to dry clothes indoors?
- See our cost calculator to see how household appliances compare.