Are solar panels worth installing in the UK?
If you plan to stay in your current home for long enough to pay back the initial investment, solar panels could save you money by reducing the need to pay for electricity. Although the sun's energy is free, you need to consider how much your upfront costs will be for the panels and any battery storage. You should also look into how much solar energy your property is likely to generate, which will be determined by a number of factors including the type of roof space you have and the direction the panels will face.
In addition to the possible longer term savings, solar is a renewable form of energy. Using renewables in place of burning fossil fuels will help you to reduce your carbon footprint.
There are free tools that help you to work out how suited your home is to solar panels, like this one from the Energy Saving Trust.
Do solar panels work when it's cloudy
Yes, modern solar PV panels do work on cloudy days. They just won't generate as much energy as they would on a clear day.
So how do solar panels work? Solar PV (photovoltaic) panels work by capturing the sun's energy and converting it into electricity you can use in your home. When there's less of the sun's energy reaching the panels, they won't generate as much electricity. That's why it's important to consider the direction your roof faces and to avoid having panels that will be in the shade.
Solar thermal panels are similar, in that they also rely on the sun's energy. However, solar thermal panels use that energy to heat your home's water.
Source: homebuilding.co.uk 2022
Storing solar energy
Solar panels won't be generating energy all the time. This means that you may still need to rely on electricity from the National Grid. Battery storage could be a useful way of storing energy you generate during the day but don't use entirely, ready for you to use later. Adding battery storage will be an additional upfront cost, so factor that into your decision and budget. According to Which? you can expect to spend over £2,000 on battery storage.
Source: Which? 2023