Solar Panels Scotland

With the ongoing cost of living crisis and the shortcomings of the current energy market, there’s never been a better time to install solar panels in Scotland.

Solar panels generate free electricity and save money on energy costs by reducing your reliance on the grid.

You can also earn money by selling the excess electricity your panels produce and play your part in protecting the planet by saving around 1 tonne of carbon per year.

But how do solar panels perform in Scotland, and are they worth investing in?

This guide explores everything you need to know about solar panels in Scotland, including current trends, the cost, possible savings, and government grants that can help make the installation more affordable.

Key Takeaways:

  • Solar panels in Scotland can generate enough electricity to power your home despite the cloudy weather.
  • Over 142,000 homes in Scotland have installed solar panels.
  • Solar panels in Scotland can pay themselves back in 10 to 15 years.
  • You can get help installing solar panels in Scotland through schemes like Home Energy Scotland and ECO4.

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Is the Weather in Scotland Suitable for Solar Panels?

Yes! Although Scotland can have high cloud coverage and low light levels more frequently than other UK regions, it still receives adequate sunshine for solar power generation.

Data from the Met Office shows that Eastern Scotland receives average sunshine levels of 1500 hours annually.

Western Scotland receives an average annual sunshine total of approximately 1450 hours, while Northern Scotland gets up to 1300 hours yearly.

Additionally, solar panels don’t require direct sunlight to generate electricity and will still work on cloudy days and throughout the winter.

You can get between 10% and 25% of your solar panels’ power output on overcast days.

Some manufacturers also design and optimise solar panels to remain highly efficient in low light and cloudy conditions, making them excellent for the UK weather, including Scotland.

How Many People Have Installed Solar Panels in Scotland?

Solar panels and other renewables are popular in Scotland, with 2023 featuring more installations than ever.

Data from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) shows Scotland had close to 26,000 solar panel installations registered in 2023, an increase of 173% from 2020.

More and more households are turning to solar energy to reduce carbon emissions and energy bills.

Nearly one in ten Scottish households (8.23%) now have MCS-certified renewable energy installations in their homes.

Currently, over 142,000 homes in Scotland have installed solar panels.

How Long Do Solar Panels in Scotland Take to Break Even?

It can take between 10 and 15 years on average for solar panels to pay themselves back in Scotland.

Data from the Energy Savings Trust shows you can save from £420 to £525 annually in Scotland by using the electricity you generate with solar panels, based on April 2024 fuel prices.

The amount you save can depend on factors like the amount of solar electricity you can use and where you live.

Signing up for the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) can help reduce the time it takes to break even.

Various factors can impact the break-even point, including the amount you earn through the SEG, how much you paid for your solar panel system, the system’s quality, and whether you use battery storage.

How Much Do Solar Panels in Scotland Cost?

Solar panels cost between £5,000 and £10,000 in Scotland for a 3.5kW system, including installation.

The Energy Savings Trust averages the cost to around £7,000, and it can generate around 2,370 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, enough to meet the needs of a three-bedroom house.

The total cost can depend on factors like your solar system size, installation complexities like difficulties accessing your roof, the solar panel quality and type, and additional components like batteries or inverters.

What Grants or Incentives are Available for Solar Panels in Scotland?

Yes! There are various grants and incentives to encourage the adoption of solar panels in Scotland. These include:

Home Energy Scotland

Home Energy Scotland offers grant funding, interest-free loans, or a combination to help homeowners and self-builders implement energy-saving improvements, including renewable technologies like solar panels.

Funding for solar PV systems is only available if applied as part of a package that includes a heat pump, solar PV, and an energy storage system.

You can get a maximum funding amount of up to £6,000 to install solar panels, which includes a grant of £1,250 plus an optional loan of £4,750.

If you live in a rural area, an island home, or an off-gas accessible area, you can claim increased grants and loans of up to £9,000 each.

You must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • Be a homeowner or private tenant in Scotland
  • Use an advisor recommended by Home Energy Scotland
  • Meet eligibility criteria set by the Energy Saving Trust or the Scottish Government.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Scheme

The Energy Compliance Obligation (ECO4) scheme is a UK-wide government scheme that requires energy supplies to help households with energy-efficient measures, including installing solar panels.

The scheme has set aside £4 billion of funding to help eligible households meet the cost of installing energy-efficient and environmentally friendly systems like solar panels. 

It’s open to households in England, Scotland, and Wales and targets the least energy-efficient homes and low-income and vulnerable families receiving government benefits.

ECO4 is delivered through local authority referrals and allows you to apply for solar panel grants and get fully funded or discounted solar panels for home installation.

You can apply for ECO4 directly through your energy supplier or assess your eligibility by completing the questionnaire at

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) can help homeowners in Scotland earn money by exporting the extra electricity they generate from their solar panels.

The SEG requires energy suppliers to offer an export tariff to customers generating their electricity.

To qualify, you must install a smart meter and have a certificate from the MCS or an equivalent.

You can apply for SEG directly with suppliers offering SEG tariffs, and they don’t have to be the same supplier providing your energy.

Final Thoughts on Solar Panels in Scotland

Installing solar panels in Scotland is a viable investment that can save you money on electricity bills for decades and offer earnings by selling surplus energy back to the grid.

Although the costs can be high, various government grants can help offset the upfront costs and make the installation more affordable.

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