Solar Panels Wales

Solar panel adoption in Wales continues to rise alongside other areas in the UK. Wales has the highest proportion of households with certified renewable installations, with the total number, including businesses, exceeding 100,000.

There were over 20,000 installations in 2023 alone. Data from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) shows solar panels made up the bulk, with installations reaching 14,730 across Wales.  

Solar panels play a prominent role in the shift to renewable energy as the world struggles with depleting traditional energy sources and climate change.

They give you access to free, clean, sustainable energy and can help slash your electricity bills and carbon footprint.

If you’re considering joining the thousands of Wales residents harnessing the sun’s power, this guide can help determine if they’re the right choice.

Here’s everything you need to know about solar panels in Wales, including the cost, possible savings, government grants available, and whether they’re a worthy investment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Solar panels can save you from £475 to £580 annually in Wales.
  • Wales receives enough sunshine to make solar power a viable energy source.
  • A 3.5-kilowatt peak (kW) solar array can cost you from £5,000 to £10,000 in Wales.
  • Grants and incentives for solar panels in Wales include ECO4, the SEG, Nest, and Zero VAT

Are Solar Panels in Wales a Worthy Investment?

Solar panels are a worthy investment in Wales thanks to their advantages to households and the environment.

Solar panels can give you significant savings, and the long-term reductions in electricity bills usually outweigh the initial costs.

Based on April 2024 fuel prices, you can save from £475 to £580 annually in Wales by using the electricity you generate with solar panels.

You can also sell any extra energy you produce to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme, adding to the potential savings.

Combining these factors makes it possible to break even or recover the initial upfront costs in 10 to 15 years, after which you generate free electricity for the remainder of the solar panel’s life, usually 25 to 30 years.

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Is the Weather in Wales Suitable for Solar Panels?

Yes! Wales receives enough sunshine to make solar power a viable and efficient energy source.

While the hilly terrain of Wales tends to encourage cloudy weather, it still manages an average annual sunshine total of over 1700 hours, comparable to the 1750 hours achieved by many other places in the UK.

Solar panel technology has come a long way, with high-quality modern panels maintaining high efficiencies even in cloudy or shady conditions. Some manufacturers also design and optimise solar panels to work in low-light conditions.

You can ensure the maximum efficiency of your solar panels by facing them in the right direction. Positioning your panels in a southward direction is more effective than north-facing installations as it allows them to get more sun.

How Much Do Solar Panels in Wales Cost?

A 3.5-kilowatt peak (kW) solar array can cost you from £5,000 to £10,000 in Wales. A 3.5kW system can generate 2,370 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually and meet the energy needs of a three-bedroom household.

Different factors can influence the cost, including installation complexity, solar panel type, and location since labour rates can vary depending on the area.

Factors like the efficiency of the solar panel usually increase the price of solar panels, so higher quality panels will attract a higher price.

What Grants are Available for Solar Panels in Wales?

Solar panel grants and incentives are available to encourage the adoption of solar panels and help homeowners in Wales offset the upfront installation costs. These include:

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO4)

The ECO4 scheme aims to help vulnerable and low-income households across England, Scotland, and Wales reduce energy bills and carbon emissions by improving their home’s energy efficiency.

The scheme obligates large and medium energy suppliers to promote energy efficiency measures like installing solar panels in qualifying households. The scheme can get you free solar panels if eligible and will run until March 2026.

ECO4 allows the installation of solar panels in all electrically heated homes (on and off-gas) where biomass or DHS is not a viable option, and either a heat pump or high heat retention storage heating is the home’s primary heat source.

You can qualify as a homeowner if you claim benefits like Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance, Child Benefits, Housing Benefit, or Universal Credit.

The Nest Scheme

The Nest scheme offers advice and free home energy efficiency improvements, including solar panel installations. You must meet certain conditions to be eligible for funded home improvements. These include:

  • A home with an asset rating of 54 (EPC E) or less or an asset rating of 68 (EPC D) where you or a household member has a chronic circulatory, respiratory, or mental health condition
  • Owning or privately renting your home
  • Living in a low-income household or claiming a means-tested benefit like Child Tax Credit, Council Tax Reduction, Housing Benefit, or Pension Credit

You’ll need to provide evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria. Such evidence can include prescriptions or treatment plans showing your health condition, a blue badge, or a discretionary pass demonstrating your eligibility for the additional income thresholds.

Zero VAT for Solar Panels

The UK government reduced the VAT for installing energy-saving materials (ESMs) like solar panels to 0% from April 2022 to March 2027.

The measure aims to encourage more households in England, Scotland, and Wales to adopt ESMs to reduce carbon emissions and save on energy bills.

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

The SEG allows you to earn money from your solar panels’ surplus energy. You can feed back any excess power you don’t use and receive payment for every unit of electricity you feed back.

The SETG requires energy providers to offer an export tariff to homeowners producing renewable electricity.

To qualify, you must install a smart meter and show that your solar panel installer or installation is certified through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

Final Thoughts on Solar Panels Wales

Installing solar panels in Wales is an effective way to generate free electricity that can meet the energy needs of your home or business.

The investment is worthwhile thanks to savings on energy bills, earnings through the SEG, reduced carbon emissions, government grants, and incentives that make it more affordable.

If you’re still learning about solar, refer to our complete advice section for more help and advice, which includes guides on the best solar panels, costs of installing solar and if solar is worth it.

Sources and References:

  • https://mcsfoundation.org.uk/news/record-year-for-welsh-heat-pumps-and-solar-panels/
  • https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/solar-panels/
  • https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/binaries/content/assets/metofficegovuk/pdf/weather/learn-about/weather/regional-climates/wales_-climate-met-office.pdf
  • https://www.gov.uk/energy-company-obligation
  • https://www.gov.wales/get-free-home-energy-efficiency-improvements-nest/eligibility