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Last updated: 13 March 2024

How Much Are Solar Panels For New Buildings?

solar panels for new builds

In the event of making the decision to build a new house, it is important to consider all of the factors that may contribute positively to your overall well-being and quality of life. Solar panels for new buildings may come to mind, as starting to design a home from scratch is the perfect opportunity to think outside the box for more efficient and sustainable options for your home.

Therefore, solar panels for new buildings position themselves as an excellent option, as they produce free and unlimited electricity thanks to solar energy while simultaneously lowering energy bills, and emissions and can even provide profits thanks to schemes like the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything there is to know about solar panels for newly built homes and help you understand the relevant regulations on solar panels for new buildings, the number of solar panels you need based on your needs, their cost and return on investment.

While we can give you a good idea of how efficient solar panels installed at your newly built home may be, you can only get a truly accurate assessment by getting advice from a certified solar installer. This is something we can help you with.

Don't spend hours researching solar installers near you. Simply spend a minute filling out our short form and we’ll put you in touch with up to 4 solar installers in your area, our service is completely free and non-binding! Click the button below to get started.

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Are solar panels mandatory on new builds?

Before going into detail on how many solar panels are needed for a new build or their cost, firstly it is necessary to explain what are known as the SAP regulations, which stand for The Standard Assessment Procedure.

The SAP is a methodology used by the UK government to assess and compare the energy and environmental performance of a house or flat. The SAP calculations are in charge of this and are required to demonstrate the correct compliance with Part L of the building regulations concerning new dwellings, new buildings converted to dwellings, and some extensions and refurbishment works.

The SAP 10.2 is the most recent version that came into force with the updated Part L of the building regulations back in June 2021.

The SAP methodology underpins the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which can only be produced by a qualified and accredited assessor. SAP 11 is currently being developed and will come into force in 2025, alongside the Future Homes Standard update of the Building Regulations

Having said this, solar panels are not compulsory for new builds in the UK, however, they are required to comply with certain efficiency standards. These standards are set by the SAP.

How many solar panels do I need for my new build?

The number of solar panels you may need for your new build will depend on several factors, including the size of your home. Obviously, the number of solar panels needed for a 2000 sq. ft. home is smaller than what a 3000 sq. ft. property needs, and thus cheaper.

The other factors are your energy consumption, the efficiency of the solar panels you choose, the orientation and shading of your roof and the number of sunlight hours in your area.

In the UK for example, there are varying amounts of sun hours, which will affect the number of solar panels you will need.

Number of solar panels needed
Size of homeNumber of solar panelsSunlight hours
1-bedroom flat5-64
2-bedroom house6-84
3-bedroom house8-104
4-bedroom house10-124
5-bedroom house12-144

In addition, the number of solar panels for new buildings will also vary depending on whether your installation is a 3 kW or 6 kW system, and of course, the size of the solar panels you will use.

For instance, a 3 kW solar system using 250W panels will need around 12 solar panels, whereas a 6 kW system would need 24 solar panels.

The 4kW solar panel system is one of the most common systems for homes throughout the UK and is enough for three to four residents. 

To get a more accurate estimate of how many solar panels you need for your new build, you can fill in the form below and we will connect you with up to 4 qualified installers from their network who are available in your area. 

This way you can avoid the hassle of looking for solar installers that fit your specific needs and circumstances as a new build owner. Click the link below to easily get started:

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 How much do solar panels for new builds cost?

The cost of solar panels for your future new build is naturally one of the most important factors to take into consideration.

For this reason, it is important to bear in mind that as with the number of solar panels needed, the cost of solar panels will vary depending on several factors such as the size of the system you need, the efficiency of the solar panels you choose, the complexity of the installation and the location of your home.

With this in mind, the average cost of a solar panel system for a new build in the UK ranges from  £6,000 to £8,000. For instance, a 3 kW system has an estimated cost of around £5000 - £6000 and for a 4kW system, the estimated cost of installation is around £6000 - £8000.

In the table below, we have elaborated a guide to the cost per solar system:

Solar panel system prices
System sizeEstimated costsNumber of solar panels
3 kW panel system£5,000 – £6,00012
4 kW panel system£6,000 – £8,00016
5 kW panel system£8,000 – £9,00020
6 kW panel system£9,000 – £11,00024

These numbers are estimates and it is always advisable to talk to a specialist in the field to assess your personal circumstances and needs so you can gain the necessary insight before making a final decision.

The actual cost of solar panels for your new build will depend on the specific factors mentioned above. It is always best to get quotes from multiple solar installers to compare prices and get the best deal.

What is the ROI for solar panels in new builds?

The Return on Investment (ROI)  is a tool used to measure the profitability or the efficiency of an investment and its result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.

The ROI for solar panels in new buildings as of 2023 is roughly between 5% to 8%, meaning that the installation of solar panels allows you to earn back the cost of the initial investment of your solar panel system in 12 to 20 years.

What are the pros and cons of solar panels for new builds?

Overall, solar panels position themselves as a great investment for your newly built home, as they can help you not only take advantage of the free and unlimited solar energy available, reducing energy bills and increasing sustainability and efficiency, but they can also increase your property value and earn back your initial investment over the years.

In addition to this, opting for solar energy can also give back profits, thanks to schemes such as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) or other solar panel grants to encourage its installation, such as the ones provided by the UK government, such as ECO4 and the Home Upgrade Grant.

Other lesser-known advantages of solar panels for new buildings include reduced noise pollution as they do not produce any noise and improved energy security, since there is no reliance on the grid which is a bonus, particularly for those houses in rural areas.

On the other hand, some disadvantages include the high initial upfront costs, their weather dependency as they are highly reliant on the sun to produce electricity, and the considerable amount of space required for their installation.

All in all, the final decision will be yours to make depending on your specific needs and circumstances. If you are considering installing solar panels, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages to determine if solar is the right choice for you. 

Seeking professional advice in advance is highly desirable before making a final decision.

Luckily, we are here to help by providing you with up to 4 free and no-obligation quotes from multiple installers to find the best deal and get the right one instead of endlessly searching for installers yourself.

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