Are Solar Panels Worth It? Read Our Guide & You Decide

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Are solar panels worth it?

Solar panels won’t instantly put you into a better financial position. Solar panels aren’t cheap, so it’ll take several years to benefit from savings. In return for your investment, you will get clean and sustainable energy with cheaper household bills.

If you’re considering getting solar panels, you’re far from being alone. More than 800,000 homes in the UK now have solar panels on their roof. And, that number is growing. The statistics show that using solar panel can cut your energy bills by up to 50%.

Read further to learn more about the benefits of solar panels, to see if they’re worth the investment.

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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Perhaps the first thing to consider is how much solar panels will cost. Today, solar panels for the average UK home will cost a little over £6,000.

Solar panels are significantly cheaper than they used to be. In fact, their price has dropped 99% since the late 1970s, and that’s still accounting for the improved technology over the years. Even ten years ago, the same solar panels would have cost about £20,000.

This means that you’re now getting a much better deal than if you’d purchased solar panels half a decade ago, but it’s impossible to say whether waiting another couple of years would bring the prices down even further.

How Much Money Could You Save With Solar Panels?

Most households with solar panels save between £65 and £220 per year. Some save even more.

You’ll be able to generate your own electricity, then sell the excess to the National Grid. If you include a storage battery in your solar panel system, you can also store some of the excesses to use when you don’t generate enough.

At times when you don’t make enough power of your own, you can buy from the National Grid to make up the shortfall. With a solar plus battery, you can even buy overnight when energy is cheaper and store it for use through the day.

How Hard Are Solar Panels to Maintain?

Solar panels should last more than 40 years, with very limited maintenance. At most, you’ll need to clean them twice a year.

Assuming you only saved £65 per year, you’d have saved £2,600 by the time your solar panels need replacing. Assuming you saved £220, that’s £8,800. Whether or not you’ll make your money back will depend on where you are on the scale of savings. Some people save more than £220, even up to £450 in some cases.

For some people, solar panels will not be worth it. You’d have more money if you simply put the £6,000 in a savings account. For others, investing in solar panels brings lower monthly electricity bills combined with overall savings.

How Can You Save the Most Money?

The savings you make will depend on several different factors. First, you’ll need to find a good energy tariff for the electricity you do need to buy. With an export tariff, you can be paid for excess power that you don’t need for your own home.

Next, make sure that your house is suitable for solar panels. Solar panels should be put on a south-facing roof that’s not shaded by buildings or trees. If you don’t have a suitable location, the chances are that you won’t make the savings you expect.

Even the location of your home will have an impact on how much you’ll save with solar panels. Houses in the south of England have access to more sunshine throughout the year, whilst those in northern Scotland will generate less electricity.

What About Environmental Benefits?

Though solar panel production isn’t a pollution-free process, once they’re made and installed solar panels provide a clean, non-polluting source of energy. You’re doing your bit for the planet, easing the burden on power stations that burn fossil fuels for electricity.

Solar power is completely sustainable. It’ll exist for as long as there’s life on planet Earth and it’s available in abundance. Eighteen days of sunshine worldwide, with enough solar panels to collect it, could entirely replace the planet’s need for fossil fuel resources.

As well as improving household energy bills, you’ll be helping to improve the environment and reduce the planet’s air pollution.

Do Solar Panels Get in the Way?

The great thing about solar panels is that they don’t require additional space. They’ll sit on top of your existing buildings, so you don’t need to set aside a room in your garden or add things to your home’s interior.

It doesn’t take long to install solar panels. Most homes have a suitable place for solar panels to fit.

Solar panels won’t get in the way, and you’ll barely even notice they’re there. This can help with making a decision if you’d otherwise be worried about how long you’d have the installation team on site for.

So, Are Solar Panels Worth It?

From an environmental perspective, solar panels are always worthwhile. Though there’s some environmental cost to producing them in the first place, it’s soon outweighed by the fact that you’ll generate non-polluting energy. Your decision to install solar panels takes the pressure off the National Grid, which currently relies on burning fossil fuels.

It’s a little harder to decide if solar panels are worthwhile financially. Some people will enjoy cheaper energy bills every year, but will never reach the point of saving enough money to pay back their initial investment. For them, solar panels will be a financial loss.

On a wider scale, the government is looking at how solar energy can fit into the wider mix of renewables in the country. In the 2011 Renewable Energy Roadmap, solar was highlighted as a large part of plans, with the UK potentially benefitting from global prices dropping as cost efficiencies were found. Solar will certainly continue to be a part of the broader research into green energy and its potential.

Save Money by Installing Solar Panels

A majority of people will save money by installing solar panels. If your energy bills reduce by £150 a year, you’re at around the level to break even. If they drop by any more than this, you’ll have made a profit by the time your solar panels need replacing. Since solar panels last more than 40 years, some lasting well over 50, it’s likely that your next solar panels will be a fraction of their current price.

Solar panels aren’t for everyone. You’ll need to have the initial funds to get your solar panels installed. Loans are available, and export tariffs can help you to make money back, though ultimately there’s a significant cost that you’ll need to account for at first.

If you’re considering solar panels, it can help to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages, though you’re likely to find that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. So, are solar panels worth it?

If you’ve got a spare £6,000 and want to do your bit for the planet and your energy bills, it’s very likely that they will be. If you don’t have the money spare, borrowing money may be risky, and you might not make a profit at all.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Solar Energy?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Solar Energy companies. They have already helped thousands of people get the best Solar Panels & Solar Energy solutions for their homes and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent Solar management company means they won’t proceed with a scheme unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these Solar Energy companies who can help you, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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