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Will solar PV save you money on energy bills? It depends…

With energy bills going through the roof, you may be considering having Solar PV installed on your roof – a means of generating free and green electricity. And if you are, you wouldn’t be alone.

New government statistics published in June 2022 showed that 59% of homeowners would consider having solar PV on their roofs – that’s not even counting those who already have them installed (BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker – Spring 2022).

Since 2010, the cost of getting solar PV has fallen by 88% (UK Government, 2021).

With energy bills rising, we’re going to look at whether getting a solar PV array could save you, or even make you money, while also generating clean and green electricity for your home.

The cost of installing solar panels and payback are important factors to consider, but there are also significant carbon savings to be made by generating your own electricity at home.

Furthermore, generating your own electricity at home and using it there, will make you more resilient to future energy price spikes.

The number of eBay searches for solar panels and solar power batteries increased by 54% and 134% respectively in June compared with the same period last year.

How much do they cost?

The average domestic solar PV system is 4.2kWp and costs around £6,500 to install (Energy Saving Trust).

But the cost can vary on how many panels you can fit on your roof and the cost of labour to install them.

For example, if your roof is hard to access it may take longer to install, increasing the cost.

You might also be interested in combining yours with a battery – they range between £1,200 and £6,000.

But with the added cost, you’ll need to factor in it will take even longer to pay it back.

A battery would allow you to store the electricity produced by the panels and use it later when the sun isn’t shining.

It’s all about when you use your energy

Getting the most out of your solar PV is all about when you use your electricity.

It’s most effective to use the electricity as it’s being generated – in daylight hours when the sun shines.

It doesn’t need to be super sunny for your panels to generate electricity, they do generate it even on overcast days.

The lights are on, but no one’s home…

Save up to £405 a year

If you can use the electricity while your panels are generating it will reduce your electricity bills.

The amount you can save depends on the size of your array, based on the estimated a typical household could save between £165 – £405 a year of energy bills at today’s prices (Energy Saving Trust, August 2022)

Sell your energy back to the grid?

If you aren’t in a position to use the power yourself, or you just want to make some extra money back, you could export it.

Any electricity generated by the panels on your roof is channelled back into the national energy grid.

This is done under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) – the replacement for the feed-in-tariff (FiT) which was more generous but hasn’t been available since 2019.

‘Make pay while the sun shines’

With the Smart Export Guarantee, you could not only generate free electricity for you and your family but sell any surplus energy you generate to the National Grid – as mentioned in one of our most popular blogs.

Installing renewable generation technology and signing up for a SEG tariff will help you use more renewable electricity and should help you save money on it in the long term. 

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make money from the SEG to the extent that some solar panel owners initially could from the FIT.

This is because the SEG pays only for excess electricity put into the grid, rather than all the electricity that’s generated.

Save up to £110 extra a year by exporting your energy

Energy suppliers offer ‘tariffs’ to households which pay a set rate for each kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity you generate from your solar PV – and don’t use yourself.

A typical household in the middle of the country could make between £80 and £110/year (based on a rate of 3.99p per kWh – The Energy Saving Trust).

How much you make depends on the energy company you sign up with.

Currently, Octopus Energy offers the highest tariff – 7.5p per kWh, but others offer similar rates too.

Solar Fact: Super hot days actually make solar PV panels work less effectively. It’s more about daylight hours than heat from the sun. Modern solar panels are designed to suffer less from hot temperatures, but they can still lose 10 per cent of their rated efficiency on hot days.

Are solar panels right for you?

If you’re at home all day using the energy you generate, it will take you less time to recoup the installation costs. 

Based on the Energy Saving Trust figures, with a 4.2 kilowatt-peak solar array costing about £6,500: On average, you would recoup the installation costs in about 14 years, if you live in the middle of the country (northern homes get slightly less daylight, so where you live needs to be factored in.)

If you’re only home using electricity during the evenings, and don’t have a battery, it’s about 24 years until you would recoup the cost.

However, if this is the case, you could make more from the smart export guarantee (SEG) rather than the savings on your electricity bill. 

Many factors influence how much you could make back, including where you live, the size and cost of your solar PV array, and the long-term security of government support schemes. 

If you think solar PV could be right for your home, and you’d like to get other energy efficiency measures installed, get in touch with our team. 

Transform your home into a solar home

Solar electricity is a green renewable energy that turns households into smart solar homes. We can take advantage of this clean energy-generating technology at Cosy Homes Oxfordshire.

If you’re thinking of installing solar PVs in your home and you live in Oxfordshire, our Free Plan Builder tool can help you build an energy efficiency plan for your home for free.

Simply put in your postcode and you’ll see everything we know about the current energy efficiency and performance of your home, based on existing data. Then, choose your budget and priorities and the Plan Builder will create a draft retrofit plan for your home – which you can edit to suit your needs.

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