How Many Solar Panels Do You Need UK?

How many solar panels do you need to power your home in the UK?

In this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials you need to power your home with solar energy.

It’s no secret that the energy from the sun is free (except the cost of the installation) and it’s 100% renewable, hence why it’s growing in popularity, especially in light of the energy crisis.

But how many panels do you need to power the average UK household?

Let’s start…

How Many Solar Panels Does The Average UK House Need?

The true answer is that it depends on the size of your property and your energy demands.

Annual electricity usage is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), therefore, we can use these average figures based on the property size to work out how many solar panels you will need to generate a sufficient amount of power.

In the table below we have provided an estimate of how many panels you will require based on your property type:

Household SizeAnnual Electricity UsageNumber of
Solar Panels
Size of Solar
Panel System
1 bedroom1,800 kWh62.1
3 bedrooms2,900 kWh103.5
5 bedrooms4,300 kWh144.9

You should bear in mind that solar panels only generate energy during sunlight hours, therefore, if you don’t work at home you are unlikely to reap the entire benefit from them.

In terms of numbers, a solar panel system will likely provide around half of your property’s annual energy demands.

However, if you also install a solar battery to store the energy generated during the day, this figure will increase as it allows you to use the stored energy in the evening and during the night.

Even if you don’t use all of the energy your solar panels generate, you can also benefit from the Smart Export Guarantee. This allows you to sell any surplus energy back to the National Grid.

Related solar guides:

How To Calculate The Number Of Solar Panels You Need

If you want a more precise estimate of how many solar panels your home requires, it’s a wise idea to consider your unique circumstances to come to a more accurate figure.

Below are the main factors to consider but please bear in mind that if you want a more accurate estimate consult a solar installation expert.

Solar-Installers-Compared-UK

Your Annual Electricity Use

The first place to begin is with your annual electricity use.

This will identify how much energy you use and therefore how many panels you will need to generate that amount of energy year in and year out.

How do you find out?

The quickest and most accurate way is to check your bills which will highlight your annual energy consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Annual Sunlight Hours

The more sunlight your property is exposed to, the greater the amount of electricity that will be generated.

The amount of sunlight not only varies depending on the time of year, but it also changes depending on your location in the UK.

To find out how much sunlight hours your home will receive you can check the data at the Met Office.

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Calculating How Many Solar Panels You Need

After finding out your annual energy bill and determining how many hours of sunlight a year your property will likely get, you can then estimate how many panels you will need to generate an adequate amount of energy.

The average solar panel size in the UK is 350 watts, which means that if you live in Glasgow, Scotland for example, you will receive 1265 sunlight hours a year (on average). This is lower than the national average of 1,373 hours.

Based on the average solar panel efficiency among leading brands, they will give you an 85% efficiency rating, meaning that they will provide an average of 298 kWh per year.

Therefore, to determine how many solar panels you will require to power your home annually, simply divide your annual electricity consumption by the kWh that a solar panel would typically produce in your region.

The Size Of Your Roof

The size of your roof is also a limiting factor since it will determine how many solar panels you can install, as well as their size.

The average size solar panel in the UK is around 2 metres square, however, if your roof is on the small side, you can use larger panels instead.

How Much Electricity Does Your House Use?

Things have changed a lot this year in terms of energy prices, so it’s important to factor this into your calculations too.

On average, a one-bedroom house typically uses 1,800 kWh, a three-bedroom house will use 2,900 kWh, and a five-bedroom house uses 4,300 kWh.

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) the average cost for standard electricity in the UK in 2022 was 18.9p/kWh.

However, from October the 1st, this average will be largely meaningless, since the new cost of electricity per kWh will jump to 52p/kWh.

That means that it’s a better time than ever to try to reduce your energy bills and reliance on the grid, which you can do through the installation of solar panels and a battery storage system.