Why add solar panels to my home?



Why add solar panels to my home?


Solar panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that you can use in your home, and can even work on cloudy days. They could help you to reduce your electricity bills and add to the value of your home, if you’re looking to sell.

  • After the cost of installation is paid, the electricity generated from solar panels is free, which could help you reduce the cost of your electricity bill.
  • If you generate more electricity than you need, you could also sell this back to the National Grid.
  • A South facing, unshaded roof will help maximise the electricity generated, and the potential savings on your electricity bills.
  • Solar electricity is renewable, making it not only good for your pocket but the planet too. A typical home with solar panels could reduce their emissions by one tonne of carbon per year (Energy Saving Trust, May 2022 ).


The Energy Saving Trust's solar energy calculator could help you better understand the potential costs and savings of adding solar panels to your home. By providing a few details about your property and energy needs, the calculator can help you decide whether a solar PV system is suitable for you.

What is the Smart Export Guarantee?

If you decide to install solar PV panels, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) enables small-scale generators of renewable electric energy such as homeowners to receive payments from electricity suppliers for the electricity they export back to the National Grid, providing certain criteria are met. Contracts typically last for 12 months and tariffs need to be renegotiated every year with the energy companies.

Learn more about the SEG and check if you're eligible.

Top questions about solar panels answered

  • How much do solar panels cost?

    The cost varies depending on your local area, your installer and the type of panels you want – but as a guide, they will typically cost between £2,900 and £6,700, according to the Energy Saving Trust, though they can cost as much as £9,000.

  • Do I need planning permission for solar panels?

    A photovoltaic (PV) solar panel installation only requires planning permission for listed buildings or areas of outstanding natural beauty(E.ON, 2022). There are exceptions such as the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and other local councils may start to follow. Similarly, in a conservation area it is always a good idea to consult the local planning authority before installing solar panels.

  • What are the maintenance costs for solar panels?

    Photovoltaic (PV) solar panel systems require little maintenance.

    Panels tilted at 15 degrees or more benefit from being cleaned by rainfall, which helps the system to perform to its best. However, in areas where debris or dust is likely to sit on the panels, occasional cleaning may be needed.

    Panels should last 25 years or more, however some parts such as the inverter are likely to need to be replaced within this time at a cost of approximately £800, dependent on manufacturer and the size of the system.

    It is advised you consult with your installer regarding exact maintenance requirements before you have committed to the installation of a solar PV system (Energy Saving Trust, 2022).

  • How long does it take to install solar panels?

    Typical installations can be completed within a day, however some larger jobs may take longer. Installers should be able to confirm this once they know the size of the system you wish to have installed (E.ON, 2022).

  • What types of photovoltaic (PV) panels are there?

    There are two types photovoltaic (PV) solar panels:

    Which ensure you are never without electricity, keeping you connected to the grid should you need more energy than your panels can generate, while also exporting back to the grid when you have extra energy.

    These systems are not connected to the grid and make up for any potential shortfall by charging a solar battery system, and storing the electricity generated to be used later.
    These systems are less common, used mostly in areas that cannot be connected to the grid and as a result of the solar batteries required, tend to be more expensive.

  • Could adding solar panels increase the value of my home?

    Adding solar panels to your home could increase the value of your property by around £1,800 - and potentially reduce the energy bill by almost a third, according to research by Solar Energy UK (October 2021).

    The research also suggests that energy bills are likely to reduce quicker as more of us switch to electric power by installing new, green technology such as batteries, heat pumps and electric vehicle home charge points in our homes.

Looking to make your home more energy efficient? Check our most popular guides


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