Almost half of Brits do not understand the value of solar panels for their home

Despite recent government initiatives to encourage British homeowners to improve the green credentials of their homes, nearly half are still not sure about the benefits of installing solar panels.

According to new research from, the reliable way to hire tradespeople, 47 per cent of Brits are confused about the cost of solar panels and their benefits. This may be leading to a drop in the amount of new installations, as UK property owners struggle to understand the value of spending money on solar, even though the savings can be significant.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) reports that solar panel installation costs have fallen sharply in the past 12 months. This is despite the fact that solar panels can reduce your electricity bills as well as your carbon footprint.

Andy Simms, from, said better education would encourage more homeowners to take advantage of solar panels.

“Making our homes sustainable is more important than ever, but historically the cost of solar panel installation has been prohibitive for many Brits. There have been so many improvements though, and for many of us, solar panels are a really good choice for saving energy bills and doing our bit for the environment.

“Understanding the benefits is very important, so we’ve put together a short guide to help homeowners gain more knowledge and consider whether solar installation is the right choice for them.”

If you are considering installing solar panels in your home but are unsure of the main factors to consider, check out’s advice.

What are solar panels and how do they work?

Solar panels turn sunlight into electricity you can use to power your home. The electric charge created from solar panels will turn it into direct current (DC) electricity, and with homes running on alternating current (AC), solar panels are installed with an inverter that converts DC to AC. On sunny days, they’ll often generate more electricity than you need which can be stored in solar batteries or you could sell it to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

What is the Smart Export Guarantee and how can you make money off your solar panels?

The Smart Export Guarantee is the new way to get paid for your power. If you have a solar system and generate more power than you need, the surplus can be sold back to an energy company. Selling electricity back into the grid from your solar panels won’t make you a fortune but it will help you reduce your energy bills, plus the combined energy savings with SEG earnings can help cut the solar panel payback time significantly.

How are solar panels installed?

Before you get your solar panels installed, you need to ensure your installer is appropriately registered and you have completed the relevant application for installation, as some energy-efficient schemes require an application before installation. You will also need to determine if you need to notify the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) before or after installation. This can be checked via the Electricity Network Association’s (ENA) website. Once all this has been completed, the installer will use a combination of scaffolding, roof anchors, and an aluminium frame to install the panels. Once installed the panels will be wired into your home and an inverter will be used to connect the panels to your electricity supply.

Who can install solar panels?  

In most cases, solar panel installation is completed by the company you buy the panels from. However, installation can also be done by an experienced electrician often with the help of a roofer (if the panels are installed on a roof). There are no mandatory qualifications required to be a solar panel installer, however you may like to choose from installers who are registered with the MCS.

How much do solar panels cost?

Residential solar panels cost roughly £700 for each panel. The cost of a 3.5 kilowatt-peak (kWp*) solar panel system is likely to cost in the region of £7,000. This incorporates 10 panels, which is usually the right choice for a three-bedroom household. Households generally require between six and 14 panels, so it will likely cost you between £4,000 to £10,000 depending on the size of your home and roof.

Are there any grants for solar panels?

There are fewer grants available these days for solar panel installation.  While there are grants available, such as the home upgrade grant (HUG) or energy company obligation (ECO4), funding schemes that offer solar panels are very much dependent on eligibility checks such as type of home, location of property, energy rating and household income.

How do I maintain my solar panels?

It is recommended that you get your solar panels serviced every five years. As you get the most from panels during spring and summer, it’s generally a good idea to clean your solar panels at least once a year as part of your regular home maintenance. While you can do this yourself, if the location is tricky or dangerous, you might want to get a window cleaner in who has the correct pole system to safely complete the task. This is likely to cost no more than £20-40, depending on where you live and how many panels you have.

How much can solar panels save you?

A typical three-bedroom household can save roughly £500 per year on electricity bills with solar panels. A smaller house that contains one or two bedrooms will typically save £300 per year, while a larger home with four or five bedrooms can expect to save £700 per year.

However, it is worth noting that, even though these savings sound tempting, it can take you just over 15 years to break even and get your money back. Therefore you need to ensure it is the right investment for you.

Do solar panels increase the resale value of your home?

Understandably, some people are concerned that they may not stay in their homes long enough to recoup their investment in solar panels. However, recent research from Admiral Insurance suggests that having solar panels can increase the value of your home by up to 25 per cent! In the light of our current cost of living crisis, solar panels are becoming increasingly desirable as a feature, so it’s likely to help you sell your home should you wish to.

Storing your unused electricity 

While it’s obviously possible to sell any unused electricity back to the grid, the prices may not be the most generous. You could consider storing your own electricity using a battery. Currently, lead-acid batteries are the cheapest, but can also fail quite quickly.  Lithium-ion ones are more expensive to buy, but are more effective and last longer.

Featured Photo by MICHAEL WILSON on Unsplash.

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