A Brief Introduction to Solar Panels here in the UK
The growth of solar panel installations in the UK has increased quite dramatically in the last few years. In 2007 it was estimated that there was about 12.5 MWp photovoltaic capacity across the four nations, in the first six months of 2011 this suddenly increased to over 700 MWp.
The UK had signed onto an EU agreement to provide a minimum of 15% of power from renewables by 2020. The challenge had been set.
Solar panels are by far and away the most popular renewable energy source for UK homes and businesses. Nearly half a million solar PV sites have been registered with the Feed in Tariff (FiT) since it began back in 2010 and the uptake is continuing to increase.
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How the Feed in Tariff Boosted the UK Solar Panels Market
There’s no doubt that one of the major reasons a large number of households and businesses started to install solar panels in the UK was because of the government’s Feed in Tariff. The way it works is that anyone with a suitable renewable energy source can arrange for it to feed into the National Grid and they can then be paid for the units supplied. Over the last few years it has turned solar panels in the UK into a good investment for the future, with tariffs stretching over the next 25 years for solar PV.
How Much Do Solar Panels UK Cost?
The price of solar panels has come down in recent years with more efficient technology and greater supply and demand. There are now plenty of UK installers out there waiting to get to work on your solar panels system. Costs vary depending on the quality and efficiency of the solar cells used, the size of the array, and the ease or difficulty of installation.
A typical 4 kW solar panel system will cost around £7,000 and should last around 25 years. It’s a significant investment for many households but one which may well pay off in the future.
Find out more about solar panels costs in the UK here.
What You Need for a Solar Panels Installation in the UK
- You need a South facing roof.
- You need the right space for enough solar panels to be fitted.
- Your roof has to be structurally sound.
- You’ll need space inside your house – the bulky part of your UK solar panel system is the inverter and a spacious loft is a good choice.
- Ensure that your house is as energy efficient as possible before you even start planning your solar panel installation – that includes things like loft and cavity insulation, having double glazing and getting energy efficient electrical appliances.
Choosing the Right UK Installer for your Solar Panels
With the growth of the industry in the last few years, the number of installers has increased quite dramatically. If you want to take advantage of the Feed in Tariff in the UK then you need to select a company that has approval from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) before you have your solar panels installed. You can find out more about that by visiting our solar PV installers UK page.
Are Solar Panels in the UK a Good Investment?
The Feed in Tariff (FiT) means that you can sell the electricity you produce to the grid in the UK and make a profit out of your solar panels. How much will depend on the size of your array and the quality of the photovoltaic cells, the cost of your installation and the amount of electricity you use.
According to Which?, an average solar panel installation of 3.5 kWp, costing around £7,000 would produce an annual electricity generating tariff of around £438, an export tariff of £68 and fuel savings of around £80, providing an income of £586 each year. With that sort of return, it would take about 12 years to pay off the initial cost of the installation and would yield over £4,000 in profit over 20 years.
Find out more about Feed in Tariffs. (LINK)
Commercial Solar Panels UK
It’s not just domestic homes and businesses that are getting the solar panels bug. There are solar farms popping up all over the UK, providing valuable clean electricity for thousands of communities. Many landowners, particularly farmers, are profiting from forming relationships with installers and investors to provide the space to build large installations.
Around 25 acres is needed to provide for a 5 MW installation which is enough to produce electricity for 1,500 homes. A number of communities have formed a collective to invest in a solar farm and many businesses see it as a way of providing extra income if they have the land available.
Find out more about all the commercial opportunities for solar panels UK.
The Future of Solar Panels UK
While there have been problems recently for major commercial solar farms that have lost their government subsidy funding or come under the scrutiny of disgruntled protestors, it is still set to flourish in the UK. Solar panels themselves are being researched and developed more than ever before, with plans in the future to produce clear cells that can be used in windows rather than on roofs.
Find out more about the future of solar panels in the UK on our regularly updated blog.
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