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Solar Panels On Pergola UK: A Concise Guide For Homeowners

solar panels on a pergola

As homeowners consider renewable energy sources, solar panels on pergolas have become an increasingly popular option in the UK. Installing solar panels on a pergola not only offers a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional rooftop installations, but it also allows homeowners to take advantage of outdoor living spaces that generate clean energy.

Solar panels can indeed be installed on pergolas, with most structures being able to support the weight of the panels, typically ranging from 30 to 50 pounds each. These panels can withstand various weather conditions, making them suitable for installation on pergolas across the UK. By harnessing the power of the sun, solar pergolas can provide a significant portion of a household's energy needs, contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.

When considering the installation of solar panels on a pergola, it is crucial to account for factors such as the size and orientation of the structure and the efficiency of the panels. A well-designed solar pergola can generate a substantial amount of energy, with even a modest 12-by-12 ft pergola being capable of producing around 9.6kWh per day. Proper planning and professional installation are key to maximising the potential benefits of this innovative solar energy solution.

Benefits of Solar Panels on Pergolas

Energy Savings

Installing solar panels on a pergola provides homeowners with a valuable way to save money on electricity bills. By harnessing the power of the sun, these panels generate free renewable energy that can be used to power various household appliances and devices. The use of solar energy can also help to reduce reliance on the grid, providing an additional source of energy savings. Furthermore, solar energy storage can be achieved using batteries that can provide power during the night.


Choosing to install solar panels on a pergola is an eco-friendly option, as it makes use of a clean and sustainable energy source. Solar power is an excellent alternative to fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources, helping to reduce carbon emissions and other harmful pollutants. This not only has a positive impact on the environment but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.

Aesthetic Appeal

Solar panels on a pergola can enhance the visual appearance of a home, adding a modern and innovative element to the structure. These panels can be seamlessly integrated into the pergola's design, offering both function and style. The combination of a pergola with solar panels creates a unique and attractive outdoor living space that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Moreover, a solar pergola provides a shaded area for relaxation and recreation, while also generating clean energy for use within the home.

Solar Panel Types for Pergolas

There are various types of solar panels that can be installed on a pergola, depending on the requirements and preferences of the homeowner. The three main types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. In this section, we will briefly discuss each of these solar panel types and their suitability for pergolas.


Monocrystalline solar panels are made up of single-crystal silicon cells, providing the highest efficiency among the three types. These panels have a sleek black appearance and are known for their durability and long lifespans. Monocrystalline solar panels work well in low-light conditions, which can be ideal for pergolas that might not receive direct sunlight throughout the day.

However, monocrystalline solar panels are generally more expensive than the other panel types. With the higher cost, homeowners need to consider the importance of efficiency and aesthetics when choosing monocrystalline panels for their pergola.


Polycrystalline solar panels, made from multiple silicon crystals, offer a more affordable option when compared to monocrystalline panels. With a characteristic blue colour, these panels are generally considered to be less visually appealing than their monocrystalline counterparts. Polycrystalline solar panels have slightly lower efficiencies and shorter lifespans than monocrystalline panels.

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    For those who are looking for a cost-effective solution for their pergola's solar installation, polycrystalline panels might be a good option, particularly if aesthetics are not the primary concern.


    Thin-film solar panels are made by depositing layers of photovoltaic materials onto a substrate, such as glass, plastic, or metal. Thin-film panels are the most lightweight and flexible of the three panel types, making them a suitable choice for those who want to minimise the impact on their pergola's structure. However, these panels have the lowest efficiency and the shortest lifespan, which can result in a slower return on investment.

    Despite their lower efficiency, thin-film solar panels are an attractive option for homeowners who prefer a less noticeable solar installation on their pergola or those who have weight restrictions on their pergola structure.

    Installation Process and Considerations

    There are several factors that need to be taken into account when installing solar panels on a pergola in the UK. These considerations include planning permission, structural integrity, positioning and orientation of the solar panels.

    Planning Permission

    Before installing solar panels on a pergola, it is important to check if planning permission is required. In most cases, solar panels are considered permitted development in the UK, and no planning permission is necessary. However, there could be exceptions if the property is a listed building or located in a conservation area. Therefore, it is advisable to consult the local planning authority for guidance on specific requirements.

    Structural Integrity

    Ensuring the structural integrity of the pergola is crucial when installing solar panels. As installing solar panels adds weight and wind load, the pergola needs to have the strength to support the additional weight. If needed, you may have to reinforce the pergola's structure or consult with a structural engineer to ensure it can handle the added load.

    Positioning and Orientation

    Solar panels need to be positioned and oriented correctly to capture maximum sunlight for optimum performance. The ideal orientation for solar panels in the UK is south-facing, with a tilt angle of around 30 to 40 degrees. When installing solar panels on a pergola, it is important to consider the shading and sunlight availability as obstructions, such as trees or other buildings, can affect the panel efficiency.

    An experienced installer will assess the site and help determine the best layout and configuration, ensuring the solar panels receive maximum sunlight throughout the day. Proper positioning and orientation of the solar panels will have a significant impact on the overall energy generation and will contribute to long-term savings.

    Cost and Incentives

    When considering the installation of solar panels on a pergola in the UK, it is essential to be aware of the associated costs and available incentives. This section will discuss installation costs, government grants, and schemes.

    Installation Costs

    Installation costs for solar panels on a pergola can vary depending on the size and number of panels required. However, on average, you can expect to pay approximately £350-£500 per panel. When it comes to the installation process itself, the related costs typically range from £300-600.

    Government Grants and Schemes

    There are several government grants and schemes available to help homeowners with the cost of installing solar panels. According to the UK Government, a typical household with rooftop solar panels can save more than £1,000 in total installation costs. This saving is in addition to the £300 in yearly energy expenses.

    In 2023, homeowners can still benefit from various solar panel grants. The average home can save £1,190 every year with solar panels, significantly reducing their carbon emissions and energy bills.

    VAT Savings

    Currently, the installation of solar panels is exempt from VAT (Value Added Tax) in the UK. This tax break allows homeowners to save more money on their solar panel installation costs. However, this VAT-free period is set to end in March 2027, when the rate will return to 5%.

    By understanding and considering the costs and incentives surrounding solar panel installations on pergolas in the UK, homeowners can make an informed decision about incorporating this renewable energy source into their property.

    Maintenance and Cleaning

    Maintaining solar panels on a pergola in the UK is generally a simple process, as they require minimal maintenance. It is recommended to have the panels cleaned once every year to ensure optimum efficiency.

    When it comes to cleaning solar panels, using a hose, a soft sponge or brush, and a bucket should be sufficient for the task. It is a good idea to avoid pressure washers, as they can damage the solar cells. Similarly, detergents and high-pressure water sprayers should be avoided, as using them might invalidate the warranty on the solar panels.

    A safer cleaning alternative could be spraying diluted white vinegar on the panels and wiping them with a sponge. Afterward, a squeegee or soft cloth can be used to remove excess moisture.

    For situations where a ladder and water are easily available, the cleaning process can be conducted as a DIY task. If using a water-fed pole with a soft brush and a squeegee is preferred, these tools work well for scrubbing off dirt and drying the panel surface.

    Lastly, it is essential to keep the surroundings of the solar panel installation area clear. Eliminating potential hazards, such as ensuring overhanging branches are trimmed, can assist in preventing issues like falling branches or bird droppings from affecting the panel's efficiency

    Case Studies

    Residential Projects

    One of the case studies in the UK showcases the installation of solar panels on a residential pergola. In this instance, the pergola was able to support the weight of 10 solar panels, proving its feasibility for residential applications. The panels were able to withstand various weather conditions and effectively provide electricity to the household.

    In another example, SolarPoweredBlog highlights a 12x12 ft pergola fitted with 2400W solar panels, generating approximately 9.6kWh of electricity daily. This illustrates the potential of solar pergolas in residential settings, offering a clean and efficient energy source for homes.

    Commercial Projects

    Commercially, solar panels have been installed on pergolas in various settings, such as schools and businesses. These projects demonstrate the adaptability and effectiveness of solar pergolas in larger settings, providing a substantial amount of electricity that can reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.

    One notable installation is the Easy Roof Solar Pergola, which is designed for use in carports, gazebos, and patio areas. This solar pergola system contributes to a modern, eco-friendly aesthetic while acting as a functional energy source for commercial spaces.

    In conclusion, the case studies presented above showcase the versatility and practicality of solar panel installations on pergolas in both residential and commercial scenarios. As such, solar pergolas can be considered as an effective and eco-friendly energy solution for various settings in the UK.

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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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