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the complete solar panel guide installation, costs & more
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The Complete Solar Panel Guide: Installation, Costs & More

Solar panels work by capturing the sun’s energy. It’s converted into electricity that powers your home. Besides producing cleaner, cheaper energy, solar panels have a range of benefits.

Consider this your complete solar panel guide. We’ll take you through everything from the benefits of solar panel installation through to the average costs.

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels – also known as photovoltaics (PV) – convert the sun’s energy into electricity. A single solar panel is made up of many cells of a semi-conductive material. When the sun’s light hits these cells, direct current (DC) electricity is generated.

Household appliances typically use alternating current (AC) electricity. An inverter is therefore included in a solar panel system to convert DC electricity into AC. This can then be used in your home.

Solar panels work best in bright sunlight, but they can also work on cloudy days. With that said, the stronger the sunlight, the more electricity is created. Any surplus created is then sold back to the grid. Alternatively, if you opt to install a solar battery storage system, you can store this surplus for later usage.

What are the benefits of solar panel installation?

Save money

Although energy prices at predicted to fall throughout 2024, they’re still going to be well above pre-energy-crisis levels.

Solar panels can reduce annual energy bills by up to 70% and ensure protection from these fluctuating costs.

Eco-friendly

Do your part to make the planet a greener place with solar panel installation on your home. The average solar panel can help to significantly reduce your carbon footprint. In fact, you could save a tonne and a half of carbon dioxide per year.

At P4 Solar, we’re genuinely committed to a sustainable future. That’s why we plant a tree for every single solar panel that we install. We’ve committed to planting one million trees by 2030, which will produce enough oxygen for 2 million people to breathe.

What’s more, any electricity generated by your solar panels that you don’t use is exported back to the grid, so none of it is wasted.

Become energy self-sufficient

By installing solar PV panels, you can become more energy self-sufficient.

Energy companies can hike prices for a number of reasons. This leaves you at the mercy of fluctuating costs, which can wreak havoc on your personal finances.

Break free from this insecurity by installing solar panels. You’ll gain electrical independence by producing your own energy – especially if you also install a solar battery storage system.

Designed to be low maintenance

Solar panels are designed to work efficiently without a yearly service – unlike your boiler. That means you don’t need to opt into pricey service plans, or fork out for regular maintenance.

Solar panels are designed to be self-cleaning thanks to their hydrophobic (water repellent) coating. One of the benefits of the UK being so wet is the fact that your solar panels need less cleaning – the rain will do it for you!

Unless your solar panels have a build-up of dirt like bird droppings or there’s been a period of exceptional drought, you should only have to book in for a service once every five years or so.

what are the benefits of solar panel installation?

Solar panel costs guide

The costs of solar panels will depend on a number of factors. These include the number of panels required (size of the system), the type and location of the panels, the installation process and cost, and whether any additional system components are required. If you also want to install a solar battery storage system, this will increase the overall cost.

One of the most popular sizes for domestic solar panels in the UK is a 4kW system. This costs around £7,000 and can cover around 29 square metres.

As a ballpark figure, assume that solar panels cost on anywhere from £5,000 to £11,000. Remember that you’ll also need to cover the costs of the labour required for installing your solar panels, as well as the physical equipment. Costs will rise if your roof space is more difficult to access.

You can ascertain the costs of solar panel installation at your home by contacting our team at P4 Solar. We’ll give you a no-obligation quote based on your energy needs.

Remember that solar panels can pay for themselves over time. There’s a high upfront cost for solar panels, but by saving money on your energy bills, you’ll be much better off down the line than households without solar panels.

The typical break-even time for solar panels in the UK is anywhere from 5 to 11 years, depending on your household’s energy needs, as well as other factors like the price of electricity and export tariff.

Are there financial incentives for installing solar panels?

As well as saving you money on your energy bills, there are other financial incentives for installing solar panels.

Set to last until 1 April 2027, owners of residential accommodation currently pay 0% VAT on solar panels thanks to a government initiative. Saving on VAT with solar panel installation is just another reason to take advantage of this cleaner, greener energy source.

Beyond this, there are a range of solar panel grants available for UK homes.

Launched on 1 January 2020, the government-backed Small Export Guarantee requires some electricity suppliers to pay small-scale electricity generators (like owners of solar panels) for low-carbon electricity. If eligible, this means that you can be paid for exporting any surplus energy generated by your solar panels back to the grid. As an average figure, you could save anything from £13,181 to £29,050 with the SEG after 25 years, depending on your system and energy tariff.

You may also be able to take advantage of the EC04 grant scheme, conditional on your eligibility. Launched in April 2022, this scheme has allocated £4 billion for UK homeowners, and runs to 2026. Residents of certain areas in the UK can benefit from these solar panel grants as long as they and their property are eligible.

Do you need planning permission for solar panel installation?

Solar panels are a permitted development according to UK government legislation. This means that you don’t need planning permission to install them.

That said, there are conditions – so it’s definitely worth checking with your local planning office before installing them.

You’ll also need to register your solar panel system with your Distribution Network Operator (DNO), who are responsible for bringing electricity to your home. If you choose P4 Solar to take care of your solar panel installation, this is something we handle for our customers, for a hassle-free experience.

It’s also definitely worth ascertaining that you have enough roof space for a solar panel system. As an average guide, a 3.5kW system will typically need around twenty metres squared of roof space. Unshaded, south-facing roofs are also preferable in terms of location, but east- and west-facing roofs are also viable.

do you need planning permission for solar panel installation?

Should you install solar panel batteries?

Pairing your solar panels with battery storage allows you to make the most out of their cost-saving, energy-efficient electricity.

Solar panel batteries (also known as solar battery storage systems) store any excess energy produced by your solar panels during the day. During periods of low light (such as night, or when the sun isn’t shining), you can use the battery stored electricity to power your house. That means you don’t have to buy any off the grid, which lowers your energy bills even further.

Alternatively, if households don’t have a solar battery storage system, this excess energy is exported back into the grid. Houses without a solar battery storage system therefore have to buy more expensive energy back off the grid at periods of low light.

As such, installing a solar battery storage solution has a range of advantages.

Energy independence

On average, homes with solar panels but without a battery storage system only use 35 to 50% of the electricity they produce. The rest goes back to the grid. But if your home has a solar battery storage system, you’re more likely to use at least 80% of the energy your panels produce.

Cost-saving

Without a battery storage system, your household has to buy energy back off the grid during periods when your panels are powered down. This is always a more expensive option than using the energy generated by your solar panels.

On average, homeowners with both solar panels and a battery storage solution save over £640 a year.

A greener solution

By combining solar panel installation with a battery storage system, you can reduce your carbon footprint by almost a tonne.

Get greener, cheaper electricity with solar panel installation from P4 Solar

Operating throughout Yorkshire and Lancashire, P4 Solar offers a one-stop shop for an in-house installation process for both solar panels and battery storage systems.

As a family business with over 20 years’ professional experience, we have in-depth knowledge of the local area, providing a personalised service from day one. We’ll see you through everything from the initial no-obligation quote and design through to supply, installation and aftercare.

Contact us today on info@p4solar.co.uk to kickstart your journey to cleaner, cheaper electricity.

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Freddie Maddocks - Marketing & Communications Manager
Thank you for taking the time to read our news and reviews. We try to keep this information as up to date and as relevant as we can. We would like to hear from you if you think there is some information that needs changing or can be improved for other people visiting our website. We are also keen to get good news stories regarding renewable installations or additional information that might help others to make an informed decision about getting solar panels, solar batteries, or any other renewable energy products.
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