Are Solar Panels Worth the Investment?

April 7, 2023



Rising energy bills, the increasing prices of fossil fuels, and the worsening effects of climate change have led many people to consider installing renewables on their residential or commercial properties, and for good reason. For many, renewables represent the opportunity for ‘free’ energy, saving money and reducing the impact on the environment. While this is certainly true, there are costs involved and it will take time to recoup your investment. However, we’re often asked if solar panels are worth it, and the answer is a resounding yes. Let’s explore why.

Installing solar panels on your home or business

One of the most common and visible forms of renewable energy generation is solar panels. Fitted to south or south-west facing roofs or land, solar photovoltaic panels (known as solar PV) turn the sun’s energy into electricity. This can either be used directly on the property, diverted to charge a battery or other storage device, or exported onto the grid.

Many people (wrongly) assume that installing solar panels is only for those living in hot, sunny climates like continental Europe. However, for most people living in the UK, solar will still generate plenty of electricity and make a noticeable reduction to household bills. This is especially true for us here in the South East where we tend to get the hottest weather and the most sunlight per year. Even in the cloudy winter months, your solar panels will generate plenty of electricity. 

Over the course of a year, you can expect your solar panel system to reduce your household electricity bill by around 60-65%. For commercial properties with larger amounts of space, this could be even higher.

Upfront Investment: How much does solar panel installation cost?

One of the main considerations of a solar panel installation is the high upfront cost. For a home installation with battery storage, you could expect to invest anywhere between £10,000 and £14,000. Under normal conditions, you could expect them to start paying for themselves within 12-14 years. 

However, with the unpredictable nature of the energy market and further price rises certainly not off the cards, this could reduce over time. Also, if you generate a surplus of electricity and sell it back to the grid this time frame could shrink further.

An added consideration is that a solar panel system can typically add 1-2% to the total value of a home when it comes to selling it. However, as a solar PV system is a long-term investment, we recommend you need to be reasonably sure you’re going to stay in the property for a long enough amount of time to see a return on your investment.

Solar battery storage, yes or no?

One of the major drawbacks of a domestic solar PV system has traditionally been that it only produces electricity during daylight hours, and the majority of homes experience their peak electricity usage during the evening and nighttime. For families that are home a lot during the daytime, this is less of a concern. The same is true for commercial premises which are often fully functional during daylight hours.

While selling the surplus back to the grid is an option, it is much better financially to use all the energy that you’ve generated. This is where battery storage comes in. By installing a battery as part of your solar system, you can store the energy you’ve generated during the day for use at night, further reducing your bills and carbon footprint.

Supplementing your solar PV system

One of the best ways to increase the effectiveness and maximise the efficiency of your solar PV system is to install additional renewables. For example, air or ground source heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to transfer heat from the air or ground to a water heater and a tank. In turn, this can heat your home and provide you with hot water. By heating water when your PV system is working at its maximum, you are, in effect, storing energy for later use. This will also reduce your reliance on a gas boiler.

Likewise, if you drive an electric vehicle (EV) you can install an EV charger that takes its power directly from your solar system. Not only are you not burning petrol or diesel in your car, you can be sure that the power for it is coming from emission-free sources, rather than the grid which may be powered by gas or coal.

Free solar power alternative energy solar panel illustration

The case for installing a solar PV system

In short, provided you have the space on your roof, and it is facing in the right direction, installing solar panels on your property in Sussex and the South East can be a fantastic long-term investment. Not only can you see a significant reduction in your household bills, but you can also massively reduce your carbon footprint and do your bit for the environment.

To find out how we can help you install a bespoke, quality renewable energy system for your home or business, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can!

<- Return to blog posts