Ultimate Checklist for UK Homeowners Considering Solar Panels

by | Dec 7, 2023 | blog

So you’re thinking of going solar, are you? Well aren’t you the eco-friendly little homeowner. Look at you, doing your bit for the planet. 

Before you start patting yourself on the back and picking out which colour panels would look best on your roof, there are a few rather important things you should consider. 

After all, you wouldn’t buy a house without checking if it had a roof or running water first, would you? 

But don’t panic just yet, we’re here to help make sure you go into this life-changing decision with your eyes wide open and your bank account intact.

Follow this checklist and you’ll be well on your way to sun-powered bliss in no time.

Assessing Your Home’s Solar Potential

So you want to go solar, do you? Well aren’t you the eco-friendly homeowner! Before you get too excited about your new green credentials, there are a few things you should consider first.

Roof’s suitability

Have you actually looked at your roof recently? Is it angled towards the sun, or does it face north into perpetual shade? 

You’ll want an elevated, sloped roof with a southerly aspect for maximum sun exposure.

Checking for obstructions

Are there any trees, chimneys or other buildings blocking sunlight to your roof? Anything casting shadows over your potential solar site will reduce efficiency. You may need to do some strategic pruning or choose a different roof location.

Considering the condition of your roof

If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, it may not make financial sense to install solar panels just yet. It’s best to replace your roof first before investing in a solar system. That way, you avoid having to remove and reinstall the panels, which adds significant cost.

Calculating potential energy generation and savings

Once you’ve assessed your roof and are confident solar will work, you need to determine if the energy savings will be worth the cost of installation. 

Have a solar assessment done to calculate the potential kilowatt hours your system could generate to power your home. Then you can estimate how much that would offset your current energy bills to determine the return on your investment.

Going solar is a big decision, but with some assessment of your home’s suitability and potential savings, you’ll know if it’s right for you.

Understanding the Costs of Solar Panel Installation

The initial cost of solar panels in the UK can be eye-wateringly high. We’re talking anywhere from £5,000 to £20,000 for a typical residential system. Ouch! But don’t let that scare you off just yet.

There are a few things to consider:

Financing Options Galore

Unless you’ve got cash to splash, you’ll likely need a loan. These days there are plenty of solar-specific loans and financing options with affordable repayment terms of 10-25 years. Some solar installers even offer zero-interest payment plans. Every little bit helps!

Energy Bill Savings

Once your system is up and running, you’ll see your energy bills drop like a stone. On average, UK homeowners save £520 per year by switching to solar power. Over the lifetime of a typical 25-year system, that amounts to over £13,000 in savings. Now that’s nothing to sneeze at!

Increased Home Value

Last but not least, solar panels can increase the value of your home. Studies show that UK homes with solar panels sell for up to 14% more than comparable homes without them. So if you do decide to move, you may be able to recoup much of the cost of your system.

While the initial outlay for a solar system is undoubtedly a bitter pill to swallow, the long-term rewards to your wallet and the planet make going green an investment that pays off. The future is sunny—why not jump on the solar bandwagon?

Choosing the Right Solar Panel System and Installer

Choosing the right solar panel system and installer is an important step to ensuring you end up with a system that actually works and doesn’t make you want to tear your hair out every time you look at the roof.

You’ll want to consider a few things:


While solar can save you money in the long run, the upfront costs are not insignificant. Get multiple quotes from installers for different system sizes and panel types so you can find one that fits your budget. Look into available incentives, grants, and rebates to lower the overall cost. And don’t forget that systems with higher efficiency panels and batteries for energy storage will likely have higher price tags.

Panel Efficiency

More efficient panels can generate more energy in the same space, but often cost more. For most homes, panels in the 15-20% efficiency range should work well. Higher efficiency panels are really only needed if you have limited roof space or high energy needs.

Installer Reviews

Don’t just go with the cheapest bid. Do some research on the installers themselves. Check reviews from other customers to determine their professionalism, work quality, and customer service. Get references if possible. A reputable local installer will likely do a better job and be around to service the system if any issues come up.

Long-Term Maintenance

Make sure any installer you’re considering offers service plans to maintain the system. Solar panels and other components can last 20-25 years, but require periodic inspections and tune-ups to keep working efficiently. Choose an installer that will be around long-term to service the system if something goes wrong.

In the end, taking your time to evaluate options and choose high quality, reliable equipment and an experienced local installer will ensure your solar experience is more enlightening than enraging. With the right system and installer in place, you’ll be well on your way to energy independence and lower bills for decades to come.

Factoring in Maintenance Requirements for Solar Panels

So you’ve decided to go solar—good on you! Now comes the not-so-fun part: actually installing and maintaining the panels. While the environmental and financial benefits are huge, solar panels do require some TLC to keep the energy (and savings) flowing.

Once the panels are up, your work isn’t over. Expect to wipe down the panels a few times a year to remove built-up dirt and debris. Leaves, bird droppings, and air pollution can block sunlight and reduce the panels’ efficiency. 

You’ll also want to perform regular inspections to check for any damage or needed repairs. While solar panels are designed to withstand exposure, extreme weather events or critter interference may require fixing or panel replacement.

Every so often, you’ll need to trim back any overhanging tree branches or other greenery casting shadows on your panels. Even occasional shade can significantly impact the energy generated. If you’re not keen on climbing ladders for some DIY pruning, hire an arborist to shape up your yard.

Lastly, be prepared for maintenance costs in your solar budget. Things like inverter replacement, wiring issues, and panel cleaning or repair will need to be factored in over the lifetime of your system. While solar can provide huge long-term savings, the panels and equipment aren’t free of charge to maintain.

Going solar is a great choice for the planet and your wallet, but like any responsible homeowner, you’ll need to put in the work to keep your system running at peak efficiency. A little time and money upfront will pay off for decades to come in a reduced carbon footprint and lower energy bills. The future is bright—now go get your panels!

Checking if You Qualify for Solar Incentives in the UK

So you’ve decided to go solar in the UK—bully for you! Before you start pricing panels and picking out the perfect inverter, you’ll want to make sure Her Majesty’s Government will actually help foot the bill for your renewable energy endeavour.

Checking if you qualify for solar incentives

The UK government currently offers a few programmes to tempt homeowners into going solar, the biggest being the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). The SEG requires energy suppliers to pay solar panel owners for any excess electricity they export to the grid. How much they pay depends on the energy supplier, but it can earn you £50-£150 per year for an average 3-4 kilowatt system. Not a king’s ransom, but over the lifetime of a system it can amount to a decent ROI.

To qualify for the SEG, you’ll need a solar PV system with a maximum capacity of 5 megawatts that was installed after January 1, 2020. You’ll also need a bi-directional metre to measure how much energy you import and export. Once your system is up and running, you simply choose an energy supplier to sign up for the SEG, and they’ll start paying you for your solar surplus.

A few other solar schemes are still around but closing to new applicants, like the Feed-in Tariff (FiT). The FiT has provided fat incentives for solar owners since 2010 but ended in April 2019. If you got in before the deadline, bully for you—you’ll continue receiving payments for 20-25 years. If not, don’t despair—the SEG and dropping panel prices still make solar an attractive option.

The bottom line: most UK homeowners will qualify for at least one solar incentive, especially the SEG payments for excess energy exported to the grid. While the incentives may not cover the entire cost of your system, they can help offset a good portion of the expense and improve your ROI over the lifetime of your panels. And of course, the real benefits are the lower energy bills and smaller carbon footprint you’ll enjoy for decades to come.


So there you have it, your solar panel checklist. Four simple things to mull over before you go all eco-warrior and stick panels on your roof. Just remember, once those panels are up, there’s no going back. Your neighbours will judge your environmental credentials for years to come based on those glossy black rectangles. But think of the savings, the self-sufficiency, the moral high ground you’ll gain at every barbecue when discussing the state of the planet. Really, what’s not to like? If you’ve made it this far through the checklist without being put off by technical jargon, planning permission hassles or sky-high costs, then solar’s probably for you. Go forth and harness the power of the sun, you eco-pioneer, you. The planet thanks you.

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