Can You Get Free Solar Panels in the UK?

Are you wondering if it’s possible to get free solar installed in the UK? Here we explore the current types of funding and grants available.

PS The feed-in tariff and Green Homes Grant are both now closed, but these have been replaced by alternative schemes.

Let’s discuss the current types of solar panel funding currently on offer to UK residents…

What Solar Panel Grants Are Currently Available?

As of 2024, the only source of government funding for solar panels is the ECO4 scheme.

Additionally, there are several other incentives available for households that adopt solar technology, including:

UK Solar GrantsRun TimePotential Savings
Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4)April 1st 2022 – March 2026Partially or fully FREE solar panel possibility
Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)January 1st 2020 – (indefinite)1 – 7.5p per kWh
0% VATApril 1 2022 – March 2027£1,300+ on installation & energy bills
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)Expired March 31st 2022!Up to £2,981
Feed-in Tariff2010 – 2019 (Expired)(Those registered will continue to benefit)Generation Tariff – 6.38 – 13.88p per kWhExport Tariff – 4.77p per unit
Free Solar Panel SchemeExpired March 2019Fully free solar panel system (£5,000-£11,000)

Table last updated Feb 2024.

ECO4 Solar Panel Funding

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is at its 4th iteration hence the name ECO4.

This funding is only available to households who meet the eligibility criteria, which includes the following:

  • Your household earns less than £31,000 per year. You’ve been referred by your energy provider, local authority, or doctor.
  • You receive certain benefits. In order to qualify for ECO4 funding for solar panels your home must also use an electrical heat source e.g. a heat pump or an electric boiler.
  • Your home must also be insulated to a certain standard so you may be able to receive funding for home insulation too.

Reduced VAT Rate on Solar Panels

The other available scheme is a reduction in the Value Added Tax (VAT) for energy-saving materials, with the VAT on such products reduced to 0%.

Eligible individuals only need to pay 5% VAT on products such as solar batteries and panels, as opposed to the standard 20% VAT.

The scheme is live from April 2022 to 2027 which means that vulnerable households will pay less to make upgrades that meet the requirements of the scheme.

Recommended reading:

Home Energy Scotland Solar Funding

If you reside in Scotland, you may be eligible for a grant to cover the cost of solar panels and a battery.

The Home Energy Scotland Loan is an interest-free loan aimed at financing energy efficiency measures and renewable systems, including solar panels and battery storage.

You may receive a loan of up to £6,000 for a solar PV system and £5,000 for a solar battery storage system, with a repayment period of 5 to 10 years depending on the installation.

To determine specific eligibility criteria, please visit the Home Energy Scotland website.


Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

In addition to the previous incentives, you can also take advantage of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme, which enables you to earn money for exporting excess stored electricity back to the national grid.

The export tariffs vary based on the supplier and your location, with the best tariffs reaching up to 15p per kWh.

Make sure to compare tariffs from different suppliers to find the best deal.

For reference, a typical household located in the central region of the country could earn an estimated £80 to £110 per year (based on an export rate of 3.99p per kWh).

Are Free Solar Panels Available?

Currently, free solar panels are not available in the UK.

In 2010, some solar companies offered practically free solar panel installations due to the incentives of the Feed-in Tariff.

However, since the end of the Feed-in Tariff, this incentive no longer exists and solar companies now charge for their installations.

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Free Solar Panels UK Conclusion

To summarise the current situation on free solar panel grants and funding in the UK:

  • No government grants for solar panels are available
  • Free solar panels are not offered
  • The Smart Export Guarantee is available for earning money by exporting excess stored electricity
  • An average-sized home could save up to £744 per year by utilizing these incentives, including £514 from energy generation and £230 in SEG revenues.

Get a quote today and find out exactly how much solar is likely to cost you.

We always advise households to seek multiple solar installation quotes (at least three), so that you can compare quotes and get the best price possible.

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