Scotland has witnessed a recent surge in the popularity of solar panels for both residential and commercial purposes. But is now a good time to install solar panels in Scotland and are they cost-effective?
Unfortunately, Scotland is not a place renowned for its abundance of sunny days. The good news is that contrary to popular belief, the country’s weather is not a hindrance to solar power generation.
Many people think that solar panels need direct sunlight to work. But this is not the case and even on cloudy days, solar panels can still produce electricity. This is good news for people living in Scotland, a country well known for its ‘four seasons in one day’ weather. Solar panels on south-facing roofs with no obstructions are the most effective and the recommended installation arrangement. However, even panels on south-west or west-facing roofs will still get some benefit.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a 3 kWp solar PV system in Scotland can generate around 2,300 kWh of electricity annually. This accounts for about 79% of an average household’s electricity consumption. In addition, Scotland has experienced several sunny summers in recent years. A study by WWF Scotland revealed that since 2017, homes equipped with solar panels have generated over 100% of typical household electricity demands in seven different cities, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dundee.
Cost of Solar Panels
The cost of solar panels has considerably decreased over the past few years. In fact, the payback period for an initial domestic investment now typically ranges from 3 to 5 years, depending on the number of panels installed. This is due to soaring electricity prices and is good news at a time when household budgets are currently being squeezed.
Scottish Government Loans
A loan of up to £6,000 is available for some households in Scotland with all homeowners eligible to apply. The solar panel installation loan is interest free (although there is an admin fee of 1.5% of the total amount borrowed). The loan must be repaid within 5 years or 10 years depending on the amount borrowed.
VAT Holiday on Solar Panels
Since 2022 there has been zero VAT on new solar panel purchases, leading to savings of up to £1000. This reduction in VAT will come to an end in 2027. So if you are thinking of installing solar panels, now is a good time to do it.
Solar Panel Planning Permission in Scotland
In most cases, installing solar panels in Scotland does not require prior planning permission (as long as they are below a certain size). This makes the whole process much simpler. Some exceptions to this may occur for listed buildings, homes in conservation areas etc. You should contact your local planning department if you have any concerns about your property meeting the criteria.
Given the current scenario of skyrocketing energy prices leading to costly bills, it may seem like a big investment to opt for solar panels initially. However, long term, it could be a very cost-effective decision. Hence, if you’re contemplating whether or not to install solar panels now, we definitely recommend going for it!
If you need help with a new solar panel installation, Capital City Electrical Services can help. We are MCS Certified solar panel installers covering the areas of Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian. Get in touch or give us a call on 0131 235 2608 to find out more.