How much do solar panels cost in 2019?
It’s very easy to overpay for solar panels.
How much do solar panels cost? Some companies charge a lot more than others. However, if you do pay too much, it will take you longer to recoup your investment.
This guide is designed to help you:
- Rule solar panels in or out, if you are not sure whether you want them or not; and/or
- Help you secure a fair price from an installer, if you have decided to go ahead with a solar panel installation.
A Typical Solar Panel System
In 2019, an average-sized solar PV system for a house should cost around £6,000 including VAT @5%.
£6,000 will get you roughly a 4 kWp system (see our page on Energy Terminology for an explanation of ‘kWp’ and other confusing terms).
The system will comprise, for example:
- 14 x 285W panels = 3.99 kWp
- 14 x 295W panels = 4.13 kWp
- 16 x 250W panels = 4 kWp
When might you pay more than £6,000?
There are often reasons why your particular 4 kWp system may cost more than £6,000.
- If the scaffolding is complicated or larger than usual.
- You have a small roof and need to use expensive, high capacity panels to reach 4 kWp, e.g. 12 x 335W panels = 4.02 kWp.
- If your roof suffers from shading and you therefore require shade-mitigation technology such as SolarEdge.
- You have an ‘in-roof‘ installation, rather than an ‘on-roof’ one.
- If you have slate or clay tiles, rather than concrete tiles.
- If the installer wants to make higher profits.
When might you pay less than £6,000?
On the other hand, if everything is in your favour, you may pay as little as £5,500 for a 4 kWp system.
For example, you might live in a bungalow with easy roof access. A big roof allows you to use lower capacity panels which are cheaper. No shading means a normal inverter will do. Concrete tiles are easy to install on.
If you can then find a local installer who is fair and reasonable with their pricing, you are on to a winner.
Beware, though, if the price is too low, let’s say below £5,000. It may be the installer is cutting corners to get the price down that low.
For example, they might be:
- Employing cheap, unqualified labour.
- Skimping on proper scaffolding = unsafe working conditions.
- Using the very cheapest solar panels and inverters.
- Rushing your job so they can fit another one in on the same day.
Smaller Solar Panel Systems
If your roof is very small, or you don’t have the budget for a larger system, here are typical prices for some smaller systems:
- 12 x 250W panels = 3 kWp= £5,300
- 8 x 250W panels = 2 kWp= £4,500
Larger Solar Panel Systems
If you have an electric car, which has a big battery inside, you might well want to go for a larger solar panel array.
Here are some sample costings:
- 20 x 250W panels = 5 kWp= £6,800
- 24 x 250W panels = 6 kWp= £7,700
- 28 x 250W panels = 7 kWp= £8,700
There are a couple of technologies which are often installed at the same time as solar panels.
They both have the same objective: to capture excess solar electricity.
Why would you have excess solar electricity? Because solar electricity falls into the “use it or lose it” category.
When solar panels generate electricity, the electricity needs to flow somewhere. If you have devices turned on in your home, the solar electricity will flow to those devices.
Equally, if your electric car is plugged into its charging point, solar electricity will flow to it.
However, if your electric vehicle is away at work and most of the devices at home are turned off, you will almost certainly be generating more electricity than you need.
This is especially the case around lunchtime, if you have south-facing solar panels.
This surplus solar electricity has to flow somewhere, and if your electric devices are turned off and not calling for it, it will flow out to the national grid.
This is where battery storage comes in.
Rather than losing the surplus solar electricity to the grid, you can store it automatically in a home battery. You can then access that stored electricity later in the day.
Battery storage costs range from £3,000 for a small battery to over £10,000 for the largest batteries.
Please refer to our Battery Storage page for a full analysis of the technology, pricing, installer tips, etc.
A battery captures excess solar electricity and lets the electricity out again later in the day or during the night.
An immersion controller works differently.
It diverts excess solar electricity – at the moment the electricity is generated – and sends it to the immersion element inside your hot water tank. When the immersion element receives this solar electricity, it turns on and heats your water.
In other words, the immersion controller device allows you to store your surplus solar electricity in the form of hot water.
These devices are relatively cheap and easy to install on the same day as the solar panel system. Typically they cost about £400 fully installed.