Solar Panels for Households in Wales
Solar panels are becoming increasingly more affordable and a realistic option for households across Wales. If you are looking for energy efficiency improvements then installing solar panels is a surefire way to achieve that and reduce your overall carbon footprint.
The installation of an energy-efficient measure such as solar panels can be a great way to protect your household from rising energy prices. Producing your own renewable electricity will reduce your dependence on the national grid and over time the cost of your solar installation will eventually be covered by the savings you make. So, are solar panels in Wales a good option for you?
How Effective Are Solar Panels in Wales?
In March 2022 The Guardian reported that a solar wind farm in South West Wales would hopefully supply Swansea’s Morriston Hospital with a good proportion (a fifth) of its energy consumption every year. However, the Welsh Government and Health Chiefs were taken aback when Brynwilach Farm was able to meet ALL of the hospital’s energy needs in just 50 hours of operation.
Of course, we understand that the majority of homeowners do not have enough space in their gardens for a 10,000-panel farm like those used at Brynwilach, but there are numerous solar panel system companies in Wales that supply and install solar panels, potentially saving households significant amounts on their energy bills.
While Wales is not always noted for its sunshine climate, it does have slightly more sunshine hours than the UK average, which improves solar panel performance more than many people realise. Cardiff, for example, gets 1,549 hours of sunshine annually, and the coastal area of Tenby receives 1,667 hours on average, compared to the overall UK average of 1,493 hours.
Of course, for optimum efficiency, your solar panels must be properly installed. Because they will receive more sunlight throughout the year, south-facing solar panel installations will normally perform better than north-facing ones.
It goes without saying that households wishing to “go green” are getting more and more enthusiastic about solar panels. Consequently, in 2021, more solar panels were sold than in the previous five years put together (even despite the end of the Feed-in Tariff in 2019).
With solar panels, you may start producing your own electricity, cut your household’s emissions significantly, and sell any extra energy back to the grid.
Are There Any Government Grants Available in Wales For Solar Panels?
Residents in Wales could receive a solar panel grant under the Nest Scheme. This offers households the opportunity to receive funding for a range of home energy improvements including free solar panels, insulation, and new boilers, all of which can help households in Wales reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.
This funding is targeted at low-income households and those living in deprived areas across Wales and is part of the government’s commitment to climate change, improving energy efficiency, and reducing fuel poverty.
The ECO4 Scheme, funded by the main energy companies, also is open to households in Wales, including both homeowners and those who rent their homes. Eligibility for ECO4 funding is based on specific criteria, such as being in receipt of benefits, being a low-income household, and having a home that is energy inefficient i.e. having a low Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Should you not qualify for solar grant funding under ECO4, you might be able to benefit under LA Flex rules, under which the local authority has specific funding to help vulnerable households within their area.
How much can solar panels in Wales save a household each year?
Annual bill savings for households having solar PV panels fitted can be significant, though the savings will be dependent on how much you are at home during the day, and therefore running electrical appliances at peak solar panel production during daylight hours.
By way of an example of how much a household in Wales could save with solar panels, the Energy Saving Trust has produced the following estimated annual savings based on a property in Aberystwyth and April 2023 figures:
|Home occupancy||Annual savings (£/year) without SEG|
|Home in mornings||£385|
|Home in afternoons||£345|
|Out all day until 4 pm||£240|
|Out all day until 6pm||£200|
Does the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) Apply to Wales?
Wales benefits from the SEG, much like the rest of the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland), giving households the opportunity to earn from any excess energy that is produced by their solar panels.
Residents of the UK were previously eligible to earn cash payments under the Feed-in Tariff, regardless of whether the renewable energy that was produced was fed back into the grid.
On average, solar panel prices have dropped 82% in the last decade, and the SEG allows households to make money via solar panels. With the help of the SEG, you can generate some income from solar panels on your roof space by selling any extra electricity you generate back to the grid.
The larger energy companies (those with 150,000 or more consumers) are required to provide an export tariff for customers who want to have solar panels fitted and make use of the SEG.
How Much Money Can You Make With SEG?
The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) provides an opportunity for small-scale renewable energy generators to be paid for the excess electricity they generate. These payments can increase the annual savings compared to a household that does not benefit from SEG
The estimated annual savings (based on April 2023 figures) for a property in Aberystwyth with SEG would be as follows:
|Home occupancy||Annual savings (£/year) with SEG||Additional savings with SEG|
|Home all day||£580||£95|
|Home in mornings||£495||£110|
|Home in afternoons||£460||£115|
|Out all day until 4 pm||£370||£130|
|Out all day until 6 pm||£335||£135|
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Wales?
The initial outlay for a solar panel installation in Wales is determined by a number of factors.
These could include:
- The size of the solar panel array
- Installation costs
- Whether you include a solar battery
A 3.5 kW solar panel installation should cost around £5,420. This size system is ideal for a family of 3, but it could also serve a family of 4.
When you consider that an identical system would have cost you around £7,900 in 2014, it’s evident that solar panels are becoming increasingly affordable, which is great news; 69% of customers identified cost as the most significant factor when deciding which low-carbon solution to purchase so falling cost of solar panels will make a difference to their uptake.
Is It Worth Getting a Solar Battery?
The simple answer is yes. When you are looking at which solar panel array to purchase you should consider adding a solar battery.
A solar battery will enable you to save any excess electricity that you do not require right now and use it later. On the downside, solar batteries, have a significant upfront cost of roughly £4,500.
Despite the relatively high cost, a solar battery allows you to significantly reduce your dependency on the grid.
One thing to keep in mind with solar batteries is that, despite their high upfront cost, they will help you to reduce your electricity demand from the grid. In 2023, default electricity costs in Wales are around 34p pence per kWh (kilowatts per hour). If you don’t have a solar battery, you’ll have to buy electricity from the grid whenever the sun sets.
How quickly would the cost of a solar installation be covered by the savings?
While a solar installation can at first seem an expensive outlay, the savings, especially when boosted with SEG, can mean that payback can occur in some instances within 11 years. If you receive some form of solar funding, you could see a large portion of the cost covered from the outset, making solar panels in Wales a much more affordable option.
Figures from the Energy Saving Trust (based on April 2023 figures) suggest that a household in Wales investing in solar power would see payback for their solar investment along the following lines:
|Home occupancy||With SEG||Without SEG|
|Home all day||11 years||14 years|
|Home in mornings||13 years||17 years|
|Home in afternoons||14 years||19 years|
|Out all day until 4 pm||17 years||No payback|
|Out all day until 6 pm||19 years||No payback|
Summary Solar Panels Wales
If, as a homeowner in Wales, you are looking to lower your carbon footprint while saving money on your energy bills, solar panels are certainly worth considering. We can help you get a solar PV quote from a trusted solar installer to help you start generating your own solar energy and make significant savings on your annual energy bills.