Solar panel electricity systems -- also known as solar pv panels or photovoltaic panels -- capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells and convert it into electricity for you home. Photovoltaic panels have been in use for decades and represent an environmentally-friendly means of converting solar energy into electricty. These cells don’t always need direct sunlight to work, and can still generate electricity on cloudy days.
If you can afford the up-front costs of solar panels for your home, they could pay for themselves over time. A standard 4kW solar panel system costs around £6,000 and in perfect conditions could cover all of your domestic electricity demand..
TOP TIP When it comes to putting up your solar panels, in the vast majority of cases you will need to get in touch with solar panel installers. You can find a list of qualified solar panel installers on the MCS website.
In January 2020, the government introduced the new Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which encourages energy suppliers to pay customers for solar energy they generate. So as well as cutting your energy bills, you could even earn money from your solar panels.
TOP TIP There are two types of commonly available solar panels for home: photovoltaic (PV) panels and thermal panels. The latter are used only to heat water and are not as popular. Solar PV panels convert energy from the sun into electricity.
Under the government-backed Feed-In Tariff scheme, you can earn money for every unit contributed back to the National Grid. The scheme closed to new applicants in 2019, but if you already have a Feed In Tariff you should continue to receive payments.
No. You won't notice any difference. If the PV panels aren't producing enough electricity, you'll just use electricity from the Grid instead. Solar energy is unlikely to fulfill all of your energy needs, but it can make a significant contribution.
There are now many companies which install PV solar panels in different areas of the UK. In addition to the MCS website (above), we recommend choosing a company that is registered with the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC).