Solar FAQ: How Do I Qualify For Free Solar Panels UK?

I’ll be honest with you. Solar panels are not cheap. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again. Solar panels should be seen as an investment.

But we are living in a time where financial crises are pretty common and even though solar panels are a worthwhile investment, many people will still struggle to get the funds together.

However, we have to consider that solar panels are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and make your way to a more sustainable future. Sustainability should not be conditional upon your financial situation which is why the UK government has several schemes in place to help homeowners make green changes to their properties.

This includes grants for solar panel installation.

But of course, as with anything like this, there are limitations on who can apply and the application process itself can be difficult to understand. In this post, I’ll be talking about what’s available and helping you to understand whether you qualify.

Can I Get Free Solar Panels In The UK?

The short answer is yes. There are ways that you can obtain a grant to cover the cost of solar panels in the UK or, at the very least, get some money off.

The UK government is keen to make the country as eco-friendly as possible and that means that they are ploughing millions of pounds into various green grants that allow UK homeowners and tenants to be more sustainable.

Who Qualifies For Free Solar Panels?

There are lots of people in the UK who may be able to take advantage of a scheme that provides free solar panels or money towards installation.

However, there’s no cut-and-dry answer as to who qualifies since each scheme has its own unique rules.

With that said, as a general rule of thumb, people not connected to the main grid and those in receipt of certain benefits may be eligible for such a grant.

What Grants Are Available For Solar Panels In The UK?

The cost of energy bills in 2023 and 2024 is something that has left many UK homeowners experiencing sleepless nights and copious amounts of stress. However, there are a few notable schemes that could help to reduce these worries with the installation of solar panels.

ECO4 Grant

The ECO4 Grant is a scheme that looks set to run until 2026 so there’s still plenty of time to apply. What’s great about this scheme is that it not only covers solar panels but other eco-friendly home improvements such as heat pumps and loft insulation.

The grant is available to people on a low income or who are considered to be ‘fuel poor’. What’s more, anyone who is living in a property whose energy efficiency rating is D or below may also be able to apply and that includes both homeowners and landlords.

In addition to the standard ECO4 grant, there is also what is known as the ECO Flex grant. This is an extension of the scheme whereby local authorities can refer homeowners for consideration.

To apply for the ECO4 grant, it’s as simple as contacting one of the energy suppliers that are supporting the scheme. Details of these suppliers can be found on the ECO4 website.

Home Upgrade Grant

The Home Upgrade Grant is currently running across 45 different local authorities within the United Kingdom and aims to award up to £10,000 per applicant towards the installation of solar panels.

In order to qualify for this grant, the home must not currently be connected to the grid. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that, in order to qualify, your home must have an energy efficiency rating of D or below.

This scheme is continuing to run until March 2025 so homeowners still have a good amount of time to apply. If you’re not sure whether you qualify for this grant then you can check the government website which will provide you with more information.

Saving Money By Having Solar Panels

Solar panels can cost anything from a couple of thousand pounds to in excess of £10,000. The amount you pay will depend on various factors including the size of your home, how many panels you need, the type of panels you have and whether any work needs to be done on the roof prior to installation.

But the good news is that by installing solar panels, you’re set to save a lot of money on your energy bills.

Most people will save up to 70% on their electricity bill after installing solar panels but I have to be realistic with you; it could take between 8 and 14 years before you break even. That said, good quality solar panels typically last in excess of twenty years so you’ll certainly make a good amount of money back.

What’s more, there are schemes that allow you to sell any excess energy back to the grid which puts even more money in your back pocket.

If you’re fortunate enough to qualify for one of the grants or schemes I have talked about in this post, then you’ll start saving money right off the bat!

What Do I Do If I’m Not Eligible For Free Solar Panels?

Finding out that you’re not able to qualify for free solar panels or any sort of discount can be disheartening but there are still ways to make being green easier on your bank account.

One of the first things I recommend considering is applying to a finance option. As is the case with many expensive purchases, a lot of manufacturers and installers of affordable finance plans which involve a monthly payment. In some cases, you may even be able to get an interest-free deal for a certain period of time.

However, I do understand that finance isn’t something that’s available to everyone but there are still other options.

For example, there’s an exciting scheme that’s currently running called the Solar Together Scheme. The idea is that communities are able to buy solar panels for their homes in bulk and enjoy a discount.

It works by people from any given community signing up and, once there are enough people involved, solar panel installers can then make offers on a price. The one that offers the lowest price gets the gig and you get a discount on your installation. That said, it is worth keeping in mind that you will need to put down a deposit of £150.

Failing that, there is also a 0% VAT scheme which runs across the board for all UK homeowners until April 2027. Not only will you not have to pay VAT on solar panels but various other eco-friendly home improvements are covered including wood fuelled boilers, heat pumps and insulation, among other things.

Final Thoughts

Installing solar panels can be a terrifying prospect when you think about the costs involved. But there are ways that UK homeowners can get free solar panels or money off their installation.

There are various grants and schemes that are currently running and you may qualify if you live in a certain area, receive certain benefits or are not currently connected to the grid.

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