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Free Solar Panels UK: A Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners

As the world increasingly looks towards renewable energy sources, solar panels have become a popular choice for many. In the UK, homeowners are considering the benefits of harnessing solar energy for their homes. One question often arises: Can free solar panels be obtained in the UK in 2023?

The short answer is no, free solar panels are not generally available in the UK in 2023. However, there are exceptions for low-income households who claim qualifying benefits. Such households could be entitled to free solar panels and other heating enhancements for their home under the government's ECO4 scheme. For others, solar finance options are available to help spread the cost and make this renewable energy source more accessible.

It is important to note that the cost of solar panels and batteries has decreased significantly over the past few years. This development has led to the emergence of subsidy-free solar projects in the UK, which has become a significant milestone in the nation's clean energy pursuit. Despite the initial installation costs, once installed, solar panels can help reduce electricity bills due to the free sunlight they utilise to generate power.

Free Solar Panel Schemes in the UK

free solar panels

In the UK, there are a few free solar panel schemes for homeowners who cannot afford the upfront costs of solar panel installation. These schemes allow homeowners to enjoy the benefits of solar energy without needing to invest in the panels themselves.

One option for obtaining free solar panels is through solar panel grants, although it is worth noting that there are currently no government grants specifically for purchasing solar panels. However, there may be other government-backed schemes and funding programmes that can assist with the cost of solar panel installation.

Some companies in the UK offer free solar panel schemes, providing the panels and installation at no cost to the homeowner. In return, the company benefits from the government's Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which pays them for the excess electricity generated by the solar panels and exported back to the grid.

It is important for homeowners to carefully research and compare these free solar panel schemes, as they may come with various agreements and contract terms. Doing so will help ensure that the deal is beneficial for both the homeowner and the solar panel provider.

Eligibility Criteria

Understanding the eligibility criteria for free solar panels in the UK is crucial in determining whether you can benefit from available grants or schemes. One grant that might help you acquire solar panels is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.

The ECO scheme focuses on supporting low-income households in making energy-saving improvements. Around 6.5 million households are eligible for this scheme, and the government aims to improve the energy efficiency of 900,000 homes by March 2022.

Eligibility for the ECO scheme mainly involves being a recipient of qualifying benefits, such as:

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    In addition to being on one of these benefits, homeowners may need to meet other specific requirements depending on their energy supplier and individual circumstances. It is important to check with your energy provider and local authorities for the most up-to-date eligibility criteria.

    Benefits of Solar Panels

    Installing solar panels in the UK comes with various advantages for homeowners. One of the primary benefits is the considerable savings on energy bills. A typical 4kWp solar system can save between £85 - £220 per year, and as solar panels become more efficient and energy prices rise, these savings are expected to increase over the years.

    Solar panels are also environmentally friendly, as they produce low carbon electricity and no air pollution. By using solar energy, you reduce your household's carbon footprint and contribute to a greener future.

    Solar panels are easy to install and require virtually no maintenance. This makes them an attractive choice for homeowners who want a hassle-free and long-lasting solution for their energy needs.

    Potential Drawbacks

    While solar panels seem like an attractive option for UK homeowners, it's essential to consider some potential disadvantages before committing. One of the primary drawbacks is the up-front cost, even though prices have dropped significantly. With solar panel prices averaging around £6,000 in 2023, this might still be a substantial investment for many households.

    Another concern is the impact of the UK's often cloudy and gloomy weather on solar panel efficiency. Solar panels can still generate power on cloudy days, but their efficiency will be reduced. This might lead some homeowners to doubt the overall benefit and savings from installing solar panels.

    It's also essential to consider ongoing maintenance costs, which can add up over time. While solar panels are generally low maintenance, they require periodic cleaning and maintenance checks to keep them operating optimally. Homeowners who opt for free solar panels may also relinquish some control over their energy systems, as these schemes often involve third-party companies owning and maintaining the solar installation.

    Additionally, there may be fewer choices in terms of solar panel brands and types when going for free solar schemes, potentially limiting the homeowner's flexibility when choosing the best system for their needs.

    In summary, while free solar panels can be an alluring option for some UK homeowners, it's crucial to weigh these potential drawbacks against the potential savings and environmental benefits before making a decision.

    Comparing Suppliers

    In order to find the best free solar panel provider in the UK, it is essential to compare suppliers based on factors such as equipment, installation, and customer service. With many companies offering these services, it's crucial to conduct thorough research before making a decision.

    When making comparisons, consider the following points:

    • Type and quality of solar panels
    • Installation costs and timeframes
    • Customer reviews and satisfaction
    • Availability of grants or funding programs

    It may be worth investigating solar panel grants in the UK to understand how the prices and incentives vary among different suppliers. You should also be cautious when approaching companies offering free solar panels or solar buyback schemes, as they may not always deliver on their promises.

    By taking the time to compare different suppliers and their offerings, you can ensure you make an informed choice and secure the best possible deal for your home's solar panel installation.

    How to Apply

    To apply for free solar panels in the UK, it is necessary to check your eligibility first. Some criteria for eligibility include being over 70 years of age, being a single parent, or living with a child below the age of 18. Your annual earnings should also be below certain thresholds depending on the number of children in your household.

    Once you've confirmed your eligibility, you can proceed with the application process. One option to consider is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which may help you buy solar panels. Visit the UK Government's Green Deal website to learn more about energy-saving measures and improvements.

    Here are some steps to follow during the application process:

    1. Research solar panel installation companies in your area, comparing costs and services.
    2. Contact the company that suits your requirements and inquire about their free solar panel plans.
    3. Submit the necessary documentation to prove your eligibility, such as proof of income and housing situation.
    4. Wait for the company to review your application and conduct a home assessment to determine the suitability of your home for solar panels.
    5. If your application is approved, schedule the installation with the company and sign the required agreements.

    Keep in mind that while free solar panels may be an attractive option, be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of any agreement before committing, as this may involve long-term commitments to the energy provider.


    In summary, obtaining free solar panels in the UK has become more challenging due to the discontinuation of government-backed schemes. However, there are still some opportunities to access funding for solar panels.

    When considering free solar panel options, it's important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both purchased and rented solar panels. , free solar panels can reduce energy costs and contribute to a greener environment, but may also limit the benefits received in the long term compared to purchasing your own system.

    Finally, always research and compare installers and financing options before committing to any solar panel arrangement. Doing so will help ensure that you receive the best possible solar energy solution for your home and maximise the environmental and financial benefits on offer.

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    Mark McShane
    Content Writer
    Mark McShane is a seasoned professional in the solar industry and the owner of Skills Training Group, a leading provider of solar training and education. With years of experience in the field, Mark has developed a deep understanding of the latest trends, technologies and best practices in the industry. His expertise and passion for solar energy have helped countless professionals develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the fast-growing field of solar energy. Whether you’re an aspiring solar professional or an experienced industry veteran, Mark is an excellent resource for anyone looking to enhance their skills and knowledge of the solar industry.
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