All you need to know about electricity generating solar panels including the cost and benefits plus when best to install

Spring is about to be sprung on Sunday, March 31 and at this time of year thoughts turn to solar panels and there is a growing number of homeowners with a barrage of questions ranging from how they work, how much the panels cost, when is the best time to fit them and are they worthwhile.

John Gilham from Yorkshire based Green Building Renewables gave us this advice.

He explains why Spring is one of the best times to have the panels fitted, while answering commonly asked questions on how to introduce solar power into your home. Here’s what he says:

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This year the start of British Summertime aligns with Easter. The Bank Holiday weekend will see Daylight Saving Time begin, which often brings with it optimism and a Spring clean of our homes in both the physical and financial sense, as we look towards the jobs we want to do and the investments we want to make in the lighter months ahead.

Fitting a solar arrayFitting a solar array
Fitting a solar array

Each Spring and Summer, more UK homes embrace solar energy for a cleaner, greener, transformation of their home. Here is why you might want to consider it.

Why Spring is a good time to have solar panels fitted. Spring brings longer days and more sunlight compared to our winter months. Installing solar panels means you can maximise the solar energy potential available through March, April and May. In fact, in May 2023, the UK experienced an average of 7.3 hours of daily sunshine making May the sunniest month of the year in the UK.

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The Spring weather also favours outdoor projects like solar panel installation. Shorter lead times mean quicker installations compared to the busier summer months for renewables installers.

What’s the cost of a solar panel installation? With over 127,000 Google searches last year, the cost of solar panels remains a mystery to many. That is because it is dependent on several variables including the size of your house and your energy usage.

At Green Building Renewables, we offer an interactive calculator for customers to get a personalised estimate for their home which makes the answer easier to find.

Overall, as the demand has increased the cost of a solar panel installation has decreased.

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The average home in Britain should not be spending tens of thousands on installing solar panels. The cost of installation on a three-bedroom house should be around £5,000 including scaffolding, but this can vary depending on the number of panels needed and other factors such as battery storage as the latter will increase the cost.

At Green Building Renewables, we currently have a deal offering an eight-panel and battery storage system for £6,500.

Incentives for installing solar panels also exist, including the Smart Export Guarantee. The government is currently offering zero per cent VAT on the installation of energy-saving materials which includes solar panels.

This is only available until April 1st 2027, after which it will return to five per cent.

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Does the UK get enough sun for solar panels? This is a common myth about solar in the UK. We know the UK gets its fair share of grey weather but solar PV panels are designed to harness the power of sunlight, not heat, which means they continue to generate electricity even on cloudy summer days.

How much money can solar panels save? Solar panels can save the average household £1,004 per year. Research conducted by Green Building Renewables has discovered that the average British household would require a 12-panel solar system to power its electricity, which would cost on average £288 per year.

This is compared to going through typical energy supplier channels where households can expect to pay around £1,332 for electricity alone. Savings, of course, vary depending on your household usage.

Are solar panels difficult to “work”? New technology can always seem daunting. However, once installed, solar panels require minimum interaction. User-friendly apps make your solar panel and battery system easy to understand.

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Many customers report how much they love being in control of their energy and seeing what they are generating, storing, and saving.

Other features on battery storage systems monitor for storms and store energy when it might be needed e.g. during power cuts or surges.

Solar panel and battery storage also systems add value to homes. Research shows that 57 per cent of buyers will pay more for a home with them.

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