Rishi Sunak’s recent announcement that he will be reducing the tax on solar panels to 0% coupled with rapidly increasing energy prices has ignited many homeowners' interest in having them installed. However, as solar panels cost on average nearly £5000 to install there are a few things you need to consider to work out if getting them installed is a financially sensible idea.
Whilst the savings you will make will depend upon your electricity usage, system size and when you tend to be at home the Energy Savings Trust estimates that an average household that owns a 3.5 kilowatt-peak system will be able to save between £170 - £440 a year off of their electricity bills.
The SEG (smart export guarantee) scheme means that you can be paid for energy that you generate but don’t use. You ‘export’ this additional energy to the national grid. It is possible to earn up to £110 a year for the energy that you export but tariffs vary widely.
If you have a 3.5 kilowatt-peak solar panel system installed it can take between 9 to 17 years to recoup the cost of installation. This is based on figures from the Energy Saving Trust plus the added calculation of a 54% increase in energy prices due ro the energy price cap change.
Homes with South-facing roofs are the most ideal candidates for solar panel installation. If you have a home with a roof that faces South-West or West they will still work but you are unlikely to generate as much electricity from them which will affect the savings you will make. Your roof will also need to be in good condition and be out of shade between the hours of 10am and 4pm.
You do not normally need planning permission to install solar panels as in England and Wales they are considered to be “permitted development” by the Government’s Planning Portal. However, if your home is listed, in a conservation area or has a flat roof you may need to apply for planning permission so ensure that you check before commencing installation.
While many homeowners assume that eco friendly, energy efficient homes are more attractive to buyers there is still a concern that unattractive panels on the roof may actually have a negative effect on house prices. NAEA Propertymark (the National Association of Estate Agents) said "Having such sustainable technologies will become more attractive for homeowners in the future. There are benefits to having solar panels – however, in the short term, they don't provide an increase in house value, with the panels often costing more than they attribute in value. With houses coming on to the market in short supply and other factors, people are being forced to compromise on their preferences, including energy saving measures."