The first way that solar panels can help you save money in the long run is by reducing your energy bills. If you’re covering a portion of your regular electricity usage with your own solar panel system then you’re naturally not going to need as much from your energy provider. With the cost of energy currently at an all-time high, this kind of saving could be significant in the long-term.
How much you save will come down to how much you normally spend on electricity of course, which factors in how much time you spend at home and where in the country you live. The Energy Saving Trust calculates that a London household could save between £170 and £415 a year on their bills from having a solar system installed, depending on whether you are out for most of the day or home all day.
However, you can also earn additional money through solar power. Any surplus electricity that you generate – that is, extra power that you don’t need – gets sent to the National Grid to be used by someone else. If you want, you can claim a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) to compensate you for this. The SEG was introduced in March 2019 to replace the Feed-in Tariff scheme in Great Britain to provide financial support to small-scale renewable generators (if you installed panels before March 2019, you should still be receiving export payments from the Feed-in Tariff scheme).
Your solar panel system will need to be registered by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) in order for you to receive SEG payments, as they are the main quality assurance body in the UK for renewable and low-carbon energy. You can search for a contractor to set up your solar panel system using the search tool on their website. All contractors listed on their site are MCS-certified, meaning they have to abide by the Scheme’s quality and safety standards and meet Office of Fair Trading (OFT) requirements. They will also be able to help you register your system with the MCS.
The SEG is not available in Northern Ireland, but there are other organisations that will compensate you for the power you produce.
Here are the average savings you can make on your energy bills per year in different parts of Great Britain, depending on how often you are at home on average and whether you are claiming a SEG or not.
Out all day until 6pm (no SEG)Home all day (no SEG)Out all day until 6pm (with SEG)Home all day (with SEG)London, England£170£415£295£505Aberystwyth, Wales£165£405£275£485Manchester, England£165£400£275£475Stirling, Scotland£160£385£255£450