The top 5 things to consider when going solar at home

09 April 2024 | OVO

Thinking about solar panels for your home? We know that installing solar panels can be a huge decision and we’ve created this guide to the main things to think about before booking your installation.

Solar panels are a great step towards energy efficiency, long-term savings, and reducing your carbon footprint. Here’s 5 things to consider when getting them for your home:

1. How much energy do you use?

Before you make the decision to go solar, it’s good to take a look at your home’s energy use habits. Having a better understanding of your daily and monthly energy patterns can help you make a better decision about the type of solar system that’s best for you. 

A typical solar system for a home can range from 4 to 16 or more panels, with or without battery storage. There’s a lot of choice and it’s important your system is right for you.

The average household uses about 2,700 kWh per year according to Ofgem. This all  depends on the number of people that live in your home, whether you work from home, and even what time of day you tend to use energy. Getting a smart meter can be a really useful way to keep an eye on your energy habits.

 Book a free video survey with one of our solar experts, and they can help you to choose a system that’s right for you.

2. How suitable is your home for solar panels?

You’ve decided that you could benefit from solar panels – but is your home suitable? 

There are a number of things that can affect whether you can get solar panels: 

Which direction your roof faces

For solar panels to be most effective, a south facing roof is best because it gets direct sunlight for most of the day. But solar panels will still generate plenty of electricity when installed on east or west facing roofs. 

Roof structure

The slope of your roof would ideally be between 30 to 45 degrees to make sure it can absorb the max amount of sunlight. Your roof should also be structurally sound, so it’s strong enough to hold the weight of your solar panels. Our MCS accredited solar experts will check the condition of your roof and if it's safe before installing panels. 

Roof shading

Overshadow or shade from trees or buildings isn’t a blocker to having solar panels installed, but it might help to have microinverters to improve the efficiency of your panels. 

Scaffolding access

Scaffolding will usually be needed for installation, so there needs to be good access for this. If you’re not sure if your house has suitable scaffold access, you can book a free video survey with our solar experts and they can advise you.

3. Do solar panels make sense financially? OR What about the costs of solar?

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) was introduced in January 2020 as a replacement for the Feed-in Tariff (FiT). With SEG, you can earn money on any energy made by your solar panels that you don’t need for your home by selling it back to the National Grid. 

If you get solar panels and a battery with OVO, you can sell any unused energy at an anytime rate of 20p per kWh – and save up to £1,200 on your electricity bills.1

Solar panels can also help to increase the value of your home by improving your EPC rating. A study by rightmove found that making home improvements that increase your EPC rating from F to C led to an average increase in value of 15% or £55,786.

Try our online solar calculator to see how much energy you could save depending on the size of your solar system.

4. Should I get a battery? OR Do I need a battery for my solar system?

Combining your solar system with a battery is a brilliant way to boost the benefits of your solar panels. A typical 3.5kWp system can generate 3,000 kWh, which is above the average home’s use of 2,700 kWh, reported by Ofgem. Having a battery allows you to store any unused energy that your panels generate, and use it when they’re not making power – such as at night or on a particularly cloudy day.

Batteries also increase your energy independence, and can be really useful during power cuts, when you can’t rely on the National Grid for your energy.

A battery comes at a higher cost, but they can also help you increase your savings in the long term. Being able to store more of the energy that you produce with your panels means you’ll need less electricity from the grid – and allows you to sell back any excess. With our 20p kWh SEG rate, you could save up to £1,200 on electricity bills every year when you get solar panels and a battery from OVO

5. Environmental Benefits

Getting solar panels isn’t just better for your wallet, it’s also a step to reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Because solar energy produces no emissions, it’s a great way to lower your carbon footprint and improve the energy efficiency rating (EPC) of your home. And as it’s a renewable source of energy, it won’t run out. 

Installing a battery with your solar panels makes your system more energy efficient by storing excess energy that’s generated during peak sunlight hours. Your home can then use this power when your panels aren’t making energy – reducing your reliance on the grid. 

The production of solar energy is carbon neutral, but it’s important to know there’s still some way to go to improve the manufacturing process.

Do your research and only go with trusted installers

When doing your research, make sure you’re only looking at reputable installers, and look for accreditations from MCS, Trustmark, HIES, RECC, EPVS, and NAPIT.

If you’re still unsure about whether or not solar panels are right for you, book a free video survey with our solar experts. We’ll help you answer any questions and help you start your solar journey.

Book a free survey

1 These annual energy savings are dependent on your property type and location, roof type, slope and size. If your roof is shaded or isn't south facing, figures are likely to be lower. We based the figure on the following:

a) You have 12 (430W) solar panels and a 9.5 kWh battery installed

b) You’re home all day with an annual electricity consumption of 2,700 kWh (Ofgem). You currently pay our Standard Variable Rate of 23.33p (correct at 1 April 2024) and will use 42% of what you generate

c) You sign up for our exclusive SEG rate (20p kWh) for customers who purchase solar and a battery from us, and you sell back the remaining 58% of energy generated.

You’ll get a more accurate savings estimation once we’ve surveyed your property.