So exactly how much does it cost to buy a solar panel? There are a number of different manufacturers who each have a range of panels with different electricity generating capabilities and different levels of performance. As a general rule the more you pay for a solar panel the better the output, efficiency and durability.
If you are looking for a general figure then you could expect to pay an average of around £4,500 to £8,000 per kW depending on the type of panel you need. The cost will continue to go down and the larger the scale of your project the cheaper your per kW cost will be. Although the panels themselves will be the most significant cost if you are considering a home solar system for your roof you also have to take into consideration the cost of the inverter, roof mountings and other electronics your particular set up may need and the cost of installation.
Any installation that you are considering you need to take into account the entire cost and work out if the average lifetime expectancy of the panels you are buying make it a worthwhile purchase. If you a buying a solar system in the UK that you plan on claiming the feed in tariff for you will need to get a system installed by an MCS certified installer and you need to use certified panels also. Failure to do so will mean you will not get the certificate needed to produce to you current energy provider in order to claim back the feed in tariff.
The cost of an individual solar panel will vary depending on a number of factors. The power output of the module will be a major determinant in the cost with photovoltaic panels used with grid connected installations. You could pick up an individual panel for as little as £150 for 80 watts.
Whilst the cost of individual panels may be quite low if you want to connect your panels to the grid and claim the governments FIT payments there are a number of other factors involved.
The panels you buy need to be MCS certified and you will also need and electrician and installer that is MCS certified also. Other than the panels you would need a grid connectable solar inverter, a mounting kit, an AC and DC isolation switch, cables and clips, a DC and AC power inverter.
You could buy entire kits yourself without installation. The following shows some example prices of complete kits for different sized arrays.
4kWp kit ranges from £9,000 to £14,000
2.2 - 2.8kWp kit costs £6,000 to £9,000
1.3kWp kit costs from around £4,000
There are currently several companies that provide free solar panels which means that they provide all the equipment and install everything. You get the free electricity they produce and the company claims the lucrative feed in tariff. The panels are maintained and managed by the company so it costs you absolutely nothing at all. However if you pay to have the panels installed you can claim the tariff. Of course there is the large outlay up front but you will earn more back over the 25 years that the government guarantee the tariff for.
To get an idea of the cost of solar photovoltaic panels I have used some typical installation sizes from data collected for quotes to install different sized systems. To work out the true solar panel cost per square metre you have to include the associated whole system cost and not just that of the panels themselves which may only make up half the total cost of some installations.
The figures below give a range from the lowest quote to the most expensive quote for the same sized array. The figures should really be term solar panel cost be installed m2 to be more precise. The figures are for illustrative purposes and just give you a general idea of cost. As a rule you will find the cost you pay per square metre will reduce the larger the size of the installation.
System: 1.8 kWp min:£7,170 max:£8,820
Size: 10 panels covering 13m2 or 139.88sqft
Cost: £551 to £678 per m2
System: 3.2 kWp min:£ 10,380 max:£15,760
Size: 18 panels covering 23.4m2 or 251.78sqft
Cost: £444 to £674 per m2
System: 4 kWp min:£ 12,960 max:£17,020
Size: 22 panels covering 28.6m2 or 307.73sqft
Cost: £453 to £595 per m2
You can also compare different sized installations by the cost per installed kilowatt. The solar panel cost per kW is calculated using genuine quotes from solar installers in the UK. These quotes are then divided by the size of the array measured in kWp the peak amount the system could potentially generate. A maximum and minimum value is listed to give you an idea of the variation in price.
The cost per installed kilowatt of solar panels starts from about £3,000 and rises to about £5,500 per kW.
System: 1.5 kWp min:£5,990 max:£7,990
Cost: £3,993 to £5,326 per kW
System: 1.8 kWp min:£7,170 max:£8,820
Cost: £3,983 to £4,900 per kW
System: 2.3 kWp min:£8,660 max:£10,300
Cost: £3,765 to £4,478 per kW
System: 3.2 kWp min:£10,380 max:£15,760
Cost: £3,243 to £4,925 per kW
System: 3.6 kWp min:£11,590 max:£19,830
Cost: £3,219 to £5,508 per kW
System: 4.1 kWp min:£12,960 max:£17,020
Cost: £3,160 to £4,151 per kW
System: 5.0 kWp min:£15,280 max:£27,530
Cost: £3,056 to £5,506 per kW
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Grants & Schemes
For every kWp of solar panels you install you could be earning up to £500 a year. That means a 3kWp system could earn you up to £1,500 a year for 25 years.
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