How Much does Solar Energy Realistically Cost in the UK?
9 March 2023
Looking to invest in solar energy, solar generators, or just looking at alternatives to your current fuel source? Then this article will cover all the facts about energy costs and the realities of switching to solar power for the construction sector.
How Much does Solar Energy Cost in the UK?
With new regulations creating more demands for the construction sector to comply with emission policies, many companies are faced with the prospect of finding new greener methods of powering their site and equipment.
Solar panels, amongst other methods, have quickly become a serious contender for the future of electricity. This is especially true for construction and commercial sectors. With the rising costs of electricity, the idea of powering your own office, site, or business with solar panels seems like an obvious solution. However, the outright cost of buying and building a solar panel system for your business is a hefty one. This means there are a lot of questions to be asked before you commit to a solar system.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the more common questions surrounding the cost of solar panels in the UK for the commercial sector and try to find how useful solar energy could be for the construction industry.
What’s the cost of solar panels in the UK?
On average at the date of writing this article, solar panels cost £1500 per kWp. A standard 250W solar panel in 2022 would cost around £400. To cover a typical 30 square metre roof with a 4kW solar panel system would therefore be around £6500.
Commercial buildings are obviously a lot bigger than this, so the cost would be more. There are also a lot of variables that impact the cost of what you may be expected to pay for a solar panel system and the amount of energy needed to power your business will vary depending on what you need it for.
As solar panel technology and battery technology improves, we can expect to see costs change as well. Hence, prices may vary from this article.
How much do Solar Generators cost?
For a construction site, generators are essential. Diesel has always been the main power source for generators, but now solar generators are offering a new option for many sites. It truly depends on the size of the generator, but you can easily be looking at thousands for a generator.
Many construction sites have instead chosen to hire out new generators for their jobs. Here at PAL Hire, we can get you solar generators for low prices to cover the length of your contract.
How many solar panels are needed to power a typical construction site?
Construction sites drastically vary in size and the machinery being used and the equipment that is being powered may also drastically vary between different sites. As a result, calculating the number of panels needed is not easy.
Many companies are now looking into electric generators that utilise solar panels alongside normal diesel generators. This means your diesel goes further, your emissions are lowered, but you still have the reliability of a diesel generator for when you need that extra amount of power to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
Generators like the Lifos Fort allow this to be a reality. Turning your power supply into a hybrid source. Instead of buying new generators outright, a lot of companies are choosing to hire out electric generators. For a lower cost they can hire the generator for the length of a job and return it when the job is done. It’s a great way to lower emissions and costs whilst modernising your setup.
If you would like to hire out equipment, call our team today. We can get you electric generators anywhere in the UK.
Are solar panels worth it in the UK for a construction site or commercial building?
For a typical household, research shows that people on average save about £270 a year. Research also shows that it would take around 15 to 20 years before you broke even on the investment.
We can expect this number to be bigger for the commercial sector. Despite the cold weather and low amount of yearly sun, many suggest that it is still a better option to invest in Solar energy. Solar energy means you are generating your own energy and not reliant on others. Price hikes don’t bother you as you’re using your own electricity and you can even sell back some of your energy to the grid, so there is potential to make a profit during higher energy price times.
It may take a while until you make back the money on the investment; however, the self-sufficient aspect combined with the lower emissions means you will be in a better position for the future.
Can you get a government grant for solar panels?
Yes, the ECO4 is a 4-year scheme offered to help low-income households to be more energy efficient. There is no scheme in place to help the commercial sector yet.
What are the two main disadvantages to Solar Panels?
The main disadvantages to solar panels are the initial costs and that they are dependent on sunlight. Whilst technology has improved to the point that panels no longer need as much sunlight, unexpected cloudy period or bad weather could impact your predicted energy intake for that period.
Do solar Panels work in Winter?
A solar panel will always work if there is sunlight hitting it. Even faint sunlight will generate electricity. While we associate solar energy with hot summer days, cold climates are more optimal for solar panel efficiency.
Hence, even in cold countries, solar energy has a lot of benefits to offer.
How long does it take Solar Panels to Pay for themselves UK?
Energy Saving Trust’s figures say an average house could take about 15 years to recoup their costs for a solar system. However, costs are always changing, and a vast array of variables can impact this result.
For the commercial sector, it will depend on a lot of different factors. Therefore, calculating the cost is not easy.
Do you need planning permission for solar panels?
The installation of solar panels and equipment is classified as permitted development. This needs no need to apply for permission from the local planning authority. However, it is always best to check with a specialist before committing to any work as specific variables may impact your situation.
Are solar panels a good investment?
Yes. Generating your own energy is always better. As we have seen recently, energy prices are volatile; hence, generating your own energy can help you to reduce costs and have a more permanent pricing structure attached to your costs.
What don’t they tell you about solar panels?
Solar panels are actually very low maintenance. That’s right, they require little to no maintenance. Again, making them a great option for a construction site as they are a low effort addition to your site.