If you are looking to have solar panels installed on your home roof you will want to know how much cost is going to be involved. Solar PV technology is a long term commitment with payback time being typically 10 years and the panels themselves reflecting at least 25 years.
First things first: Is your home suitable?
Before you even start getting quotes you need to know whether or not your home is suitable. This is reliably easy to do yourself without having to resort to a survey, which incidentally will be done before a company installs panels on your roof.
The most important factor will be the orientation of your roof, ideally this should be facing due south (in the northern hemisphere). To determine this you will either need a compass or if you do not have one go onto a site like Google Maps and type in your post code. Your street will show up and the map will be orientated to the north. You just need to check to see if your roof is pointing south. Ideally your roof should face south but you may still be able to install panels on a south-east or south-westerly facing roof.
Whilst a south facing roof is a major factor you will also need to check for shading. Through the day the sun arcs across the sky and at some point something could come between your roof and the Sun. Shading may occur from other buildings or trees. You may also get some shading from lamp posts and telephone poles.
How much do solar panels cost?
It is important to understand that the cost of the panels themselves will only play a part in the overall cost of getting a solar PV system installed. There are a few other bits of equipment such as an inverter which are quite expensive. There is also the cost of the roof mounts, cables and other electrical equipment needed to have a fully functioning grid attached installation. Finally there is the labor costs of actually installing the system, this usually takes a couple of days.
The size of your array is going to determine how much you pay. Typically the larger the array size measured in kWp the higher the cost. The higher the kWp rating the more electricity the installed system will produce for you. There are also other factors to consider such as the make and model of panels used, the type of inverter used and the quality of other equipment.
A small system of around 1kWp will cost around 4,000 pounds in the UK fully installed. For a larger system you could shop around and get a system installed by a qualified and certified installer for around 13,000 pounds for a 4kWp system. Costs do vary, my recent research has shown the cost of a 3.6kWh in the UK can vary from 11,590 all the way up to 19,830 pounds. It shows that if you shop around in some cases quotes can be almost double for comparative systems.
Solar panel costs can vary dramatically
My advice is that if you are going to have a solar PV system installed that is you get as many quotes as possible. You can compare the systems by the amount of electricity they are expected to produce. Solar is a big investment and getting it right means that you will not only pay a lot less, in some cases 90 percent less, but also get the best equipment that will reliably produce more electricity for you.