Solar panels for home
Solar panels for home

Should You Invest in Solar Panels for Your Home?

17th June 2024

In 2023, the UK saw a surge in solar installations and heat pump installations, marking the highest numbers in over 12 years, according to industry reports. Nearly 190,000 rooftop installations were completed during this period.

But are solar panels really worth it? Is your home a good fit for solar panels? And what about the costs involved? These are the questions we'll delve into in this blog.

Do solar panels work well on cloudy days?

Many believe that solar panels don’t perform well in the UK due to its cloudy days and long winters. However, while they indeed work best under direct sunlight, solar panels can still generate electricity even in windy and wet weather.

In the UK, home solar panels typically convert about 10-20% of solar energy into usable electricity. While they generate more power under direct sunlight, they can still produce electricity even with indirect light. Factors like geographic location, sun exposure, panel size, angle, and orientation all play roles in determining solar panel efficiency.

Plus, newer solar panels are made with higher efficiency ratings. They can withstand even gloomier weather conditions. With special layers to keep them safe from rain, dust, and even storms

Last year the UK saw nearly 190,000 rooftop solar installations.

How much power can solar panels generate in the rain?

Even when it's raining, solar panels can still function, depending on how much sunlight gets through the clouds. A little bit of rain might even help by cleaning dirt and grime off the panels, improving their efficiency.

Moreover, there's a phenomenon called the edge-of-cloud effect, where passing clouds focus more sunlight onto the panels, boosting their output.

If you're curious about how much solar power the UK is generating right now, you can check PVLive. It's a tool funded by the National Grid Electric System Operator that gives estimates of how much solar power is being produced by solar panels across the UK. Plus, it updates every 30 minutes, and you can also go and access previous estimates from back in time as well.

How much do solar panels cost?

Independent Advisor says that on average, a 4kW solar panel system is perfect for a UK home, consisting of around 10 panels. The cost of solar panels ranges between as low as £100 per panel to around £500 per panel.

The average solar panel system for a 3-bedroom house costs approximately £6,800 (without solar batteries) and £5,500 for a 2-bedroom house (without solar batteries).

You should also factor in things like power output, efficiency rating, installation costs, product warranty, and choice of panels and solar inverters while assessing total costs. Other factors that can add to the total cost are solar batteries (these are add-ons and not normally included in your quote).

Solar inverters, that convert the sun's energy into usable electricity, can range from £900 and £1,800. If you're installing your first set of solar panels, the quote usually includes the inverters, as they're crucial for utilizing the generated energy in your home. These little powerhouses last about 10 to 12 years, so you'll need to replace them before your solar panels reach the end of their lifespan. .

Solar batteries store excess electricity generated by your panels. You can use them on cloudy days. The average cost for a solar battery is around £2,000 and £3,000, but in the long term, the investment could prove to be worth it.

While the initial cost of the investment might be off-putting for some, there is a silver lining. The average cost of solar panels is continuously decreasing. This is on account of higher demand and the introduction of a zero-rate VAT for energy-saving materials.

How many solar panels do I need to power my house?

If you're thinking of installing solar panels, the first step is to figure out how much power you use on an annual basis. To do this, look at your monthly kWh bills and add them up. To make it easier, look at 2- or 3-years’ worth of bills to see what the spending trend is like.

After that, think about any changes you might want to make soon that would affect that total. For instance, are you looking to buy an electric vehicle or install an air conditioner? If so, you'll want to account for the extra usage. On the other hand, if you are looking to install some energy-efficient appliances, you might need fewer panels.

A website like PvFitCalculator might help you determine whether your home could benefit from solar panels.

Can I get funding help for solar panel installation?

here are a number of government grants available to aid in installing solar panels.

Independent UK details some of them:

UK solar grants

Run time


Potential savings

Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4) including LA Flex (Local Authority Flexible Eligibility)

April 2022 – March 2026

Homes in England, Scotland, or Wales. Eligibility determined by local authorities

Households could receive free solar panels

Solar Together


Homeowners and renters living in a participating council area

Savings vary (savings of 10–25% have been made previously)

Home Upgrade Scheme (HUG2)

April 2023 to March 2025

Low-income households,off-grid, low energy efficiency rated property

Local authority dependent, but households could receive up to £10,000

Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan Schemes


All households in Scotland

Households could receive up to £6,000

Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest Scheme


Welsh households receiving income-related benefits, properties with low energy performance ratings

Households could receive free solar panels

If you don't qualify for those grants, Oakbrook Loans offers home improvement loans that can help you cover the upfront costs of buying or installing solar panels.

How long before I get a return on investments for solar panels?

Solar power can cut down your energy bills regardless of your location in the UK. Heatable states that the time it takes to recoup your investment depends on several factors but generally falls between 6 to 12 years. And with energy expenses on the rise, the payback period will shrink.

With Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), you also have the chance to be paid for the solar energy you don’t use. This is when you export the excess energy to a supplier; although there are terms and conditions applicable.

Some of the factors that might affect the breakeven point are:

  • Location: Changes in how much sunlight there is throughout the year have a big impact on how well solar panels work. This affects when they become worth the investment.
  • Time spent at home: Your electricity usage plays a big role here. Being home all day means you're using more electricity when your panels are producing solar energy. This leads to greater bill savings. However, you might export less because you're using more yourself. On the other hand, if you're primarily home in the evenings, you might benefit more from the smart export guarantee (SEG) than from bill savings.
    Keep in mind that the calculation assumes the SEG will be available for over 20 years. While there are no immediate plans to end the scheme, its long-term future remains uncertain.
  • Smart Export Guarantee Rate: Choosing the highest Smart Export Guarantee rates is important. It helps you save more money and shorten the time it takes to break even.
  • Solar Battery: Using solar energy is far more profitable than selling it to SEG. Solar batteries play a crucial role in storing that excess power on-site which can then be used later. This reduces your need to draw power from the grid during the highest cost time of the day.
  • Electricity Usage: Using energy-efficient smart appliances helps break even.
  • Price of Electricity: As National Grid electricity costs go up, the savings from using free solar energy become more significant.


If you're considering solar panel installation, start by researching your options. Talk to reliable solar energy companies and check out any available financial help. This will help you make the best decision for your energy needs and environmental goals.

Back to blog