Best Integrated Solar Panels UK (2024)

Last updated: January 21, 2024

Considering integrated solar panels for their modern design in the UK? As of 2024, over 1 million homes in the UK have solar panel installations, reflecting their growing popularity.

This guide is crafted for those interested in integrated panels and their distinctions from traditional on-roof panels.

Beyond aesthetics, we explore other key advantages and potential limitations. Dive into an insightful comparison of costs, benefits, and downsides of in-roof versus on-roof solar panels to help you make a well-informed decision in the UK’s evolving solar landscape.

Integrated Solar Panels Key Points:

  • Integrated solar panels, also known as in-roof solar panels, sit flush with the roof.
  • They replace roof tiles, are 100% waterproof, and generate solar energy.
  • Aesthetically pleasing, lightweight, and robust.
  • Cost-effective for new constructions or roof replacements.
  • Likely to receive planning permission.
  • Require less maintenance than traditional solar panels.
  • Slightly less efficient than on-roof solar panels – ranging from 5 to 10% less efficient.
  • Retrofitting can be more complex.
  • Installation costs are typically more expensive than on-roof panels.

What Are Integrated Solar Panels?

Integrated solar panels are integrated directly into your roof during the construction process, as opposed to being mounted atop existing roof tiles.

This integration allows them to blend seamlessly with your roof’s aesthetics, making them suitable only for new roofs or complete roof replacements.

How Do Integrated Solar Panels Work?

In-roof solar panels function similarly to conventional ones, but they replace roof tiles rather than being mounted on them.

These panels harness sunlight through PV cells, generating electrical charges that create a flow of electricity.

Not only are they space-efficient, but they also offer 10% to 20% greater efficiency than solar tiles.

Advantages of In-Roof Solar Panels

  • Cost Savings: While initial installation costs might be higher, in-roof panels can significantly reduce monthly energy expenses. You can save on electricity bills and earn money by selling excess energy back to the grid.
  • Eco-Friendly: As a clean energy source, solar panels help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Low Maintenance: Integrated panels require minimal upkeep and are less prone to issues like bird nesting due to their flush design.
  • Property Value Increase: Homes with integrated solar panels are often more appealing in the real estate market.
  • Wind Resistance: The integrated design offers better resistance to strong winds.
  • Aesthetics: These panels provide a sleek, smooth finish that enhances the visual appeal of your home.
See also  Can You Install Solar Panels In A Conservation Area?

Disadvantages of Integrated Solar Panels

  • Efficiency Concerns: Integrated panels may be slightly less efficient than on-roof panels due to higher operational temperatures. In fact, they can be between 5 and 10% less efficient than on-roof panels.
  • Retrofitting Challenges: Installing these panels on existing roofs can be complex and labor-intensive. Ideally it should be done with new builds or at the same time a roof is being completely replaced.

Types of Integrated Solar Panels

  • Monocrystalline: Known for high efficiency, these panels are slightly more expensive but offer better performance.
  • Polycrystalline: More affordable but less efficient, especially in warm climates.
  • Thin-Film: Flexible and adaptable, these panels are less efficient and have shorter warranties but are visually less intrusive.

Read more of our solar guides:

Integrated Solar Panel Cost Implications

Installation costs vary, typically ranging from £10,000 to £20,000, with the final cost depending on the size, type and quality of the system installed.

Cost of Solar Panels per kW System in the UK

System SizeEstimated CostsNumber of PanelsRoof SpaceAnnual Electricity Bill SavingsSavings after 25 Years with SEG
3.5kWp panel system£5,500 – £6,000~1022 m²£160~£5,993
4kWp panel system£6,500 – £9,000~11-1229 m²£270~£9,240
5kWp panel system£8,500 – £10,000~1232 m²£320~£11,088
6kWp panel system£9,500 – £12,000~1543 m²£430~£14,533

*The figures in this table are calculated based on 350W solar panels and the national average household energy consumption (2023). The table makes a broad estimate and figures may vary according to size, type, and quality of the solar panel system, as well as export tariffs.

Integrated Solar Panels Conclusion

If you’re drawn to the modern aesthetic of integrated solar panels, consulting with an MCS accredited solar installer is a great step.

See also  Solar Panel Grants & Funding in the UK

While they offer a sleek look, it’s important to recognise possible drawbacks, such as their slightly lower efficiency compared to traditional on-roof panels and the extra cost involved.

To make an informed decision, we recommend obtaining at least three independent quotes from different installers.

This approach ensures a well-rounded understanding of your options and the potential investment required for integrated solar panels.