Buying a Solar Roof
Buying a solar roof is a major purchasing decision for most people, so we understand that it’s important to get it right. Below we’ve produced a guide to the price of a solar roof, so that you can understand what makes up the cost of a PV system. If you are comparing offers this will help you see what you are getting, and help you to see if you are comparing like with like. It’s also important to have a basic understanding of the price of a solar roof – it’s going to be in the thousands of pounds! – as this is a more technical and expensive measure than other home renovations such as new windows or a replacement boiler. Furthermore, as with other measures, there are trade-offs between price and quality – both in terms of the products chosen and the installation service provided.
What affects the price of a Solar roof?
First and foremost, the price of a solar PV system varies with size – solar PV is modular, so a larger system will cost more than a smaller one. However, there are some costs that are essentially fixed for all jobs, (especially scaffolding and project management) so solar PV becomes cheaper at scale. Historically, feed-in tariff payments have reflected this, by being more generous towards smaller systems. With feed-in tariffs being removed from 1st April 2019, the economic case will certainly be better at the largest scale you can achieve at your property.
Below is a list of the major costs associated with a fully installed solar PV roof.
- Panel type. High-efficiency modules will cost more than standard efficiency modules although they will generate more.
- Inverter choice. The inverter is the brains of the system and these electronic controls are typically 10% of the cost of a solar installation.
- Roof type. Some roofs are easier and cheaper to install on than others. In order of rising cost, metal roofs are preferable to tiled roofs, then flat roofs and finally slates. More bespoke installations will be more expensive still.
- Other materials. There are some small costs associated with wiring, integration into your fusebox and metering. Advanced metering and monitoring options can also add to cost, as can advanced integration devices such as immersion controls or Zappi electric vehicle chargepoints.
- Labour costs are also somewhat variable depending on both scale and the type of roof covering. Slate work especially is complex and requires specialist roofing teams.
- One of the most critical aspects of cost is safe access to roof height, which can be 20% of the cost of an installation. Scaffold costs will vary by height and width of the platform required, so for example multiple small aspects at 3 storeys high (as we often see in London) will be more expensive than a large rural bungalow. Please be aware that some installers may omit the scaffolding component from their quotes altogether, so do ensure you are comparing like with like.
- Project management and profit. Yes, we’re a business, so we need to cover the cost of our project management teams, and hopefully have a few pennies left over too! Poor project management of a solar PV installation can be a real headache for customers, so this is an area where we don’t take any short-cuts.
Prices for Domestic Solar Roofs
As you can see from the above, it is very hard to give a single price for a solar PV system. However, here’s a very rough guide to the cost of a typical domestic installation. If the numbers below fit within your available budget, we’d be very happy to give you a more precise quotation based on your actual roof.
What will happen to solar panel price over time?
Solar panel prices are coming down all the time – a feature of technological advancement and economies of scale as production continues to increase. Other components such as inverters and mounting systems are also reducing in cost, and installation companies such as ourselves are becoming ever more efficient at what we do.
The question is therefore asked – should I wait to install solar panels until they are cheaper? The answer is no – you are always better off installing now and starting to benefit from lower bills. The amount of money you could save in year 1 will be more than any possible price decrease. It’s a bit like buying a new computer – should I wait until they are faster and better? Again the answer is no – if you need a new computer, you buy one; if not, you don’t.