Solar Panels Grants in the UK and other Renewable Energy Schemes – What’s Available?

Are you interested in renewable energy and solar panel grants? Are free solar panel system installations available in the UK? Or what about a scheme that can help with getting you a solar panel grant?

We’ll do our best to let you know exactly what is available in this post.

No matter what your situation is, we hope that this guide will help you get more familiar with any solar panel grants and schemes if you are planning to have solar panels installed and reduce your energy bills.

Renewable Energy Sources in the UK

In the recent past, many homeowners have been taking advantage of renewable energy sources due to the many benefits like reduced energy bills.

After all, it’s one of the agendas of the UK government. In fact, UK is putting one of the best efforts forward to encourage everyone to use renewable sources of power.

Unfortunately, as solar panels have got more popular, the related incentives have gone the other way and been reduced. Good thing then, that the cost of solar panels are greatly reduced compared to before as well.

This means that new users of solar panels have a lower upfront cost than before.

Are There Solar Panels Incentives Available?

Do you wonder if free solar panel systems are still available in the UK?

While there are no grants available in the traditional sense from the UK government that provide payment in part or in full for solar panels installed, you can try the alternative schemes.

You can go for the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), or Feed-in Tariff (FIT) as alternatives to the traditional free solar panel grants.

If you are considering a solar panels system installation, then take a look at each of the mentioned solar panel incentives in more detail below:

SEG Funding (Smart Export Guarantee)

On January 1st, 2020, the Smart Export Guarantee came into effect. Currently, this scheme is the only form of solar panel UK funding that is accepting new applications.

SEG Funding Overview

With this type of solar panels scheme, the small-scale low-carbon electricity generators have the opportunity to receive payment for the excess energy that was exported back to the grid.

While this is not a direct solar panel grant, customers are offered compensation via an export tariff.

If you have a regular solar PV panel system, then you are SEG eligible. You also need to make sure that your property is fitted with a smart meter to ensure the export measurements are correct.  

RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive)

Other than the SEG scheme, the Renewable Heat Incentive is also available as an alternative solar PV panel grant.

Though this scheme is available for homeowners who use solar thermal panels, you are also eligible if you use any of the following renewable heating systems:

Initially, this scheme for solar panels and other renewable energy sources was introduced for commercial use and then extended in the domestic sector back in 2014.

RHI Overview

Be aware that the RHI scheme for solar thermal panels and other renewable heating sources will end in March 2021 so you’ll need to be quick if you want to take advantage of it.

The main goal of RHI is to encourage people to switch from traditional heat technologies to renewable power sources like solar thermal panels. That is to help with reducing carbon emissions.

If you have solar thermal panels or any of the other green heating solutions mentioned above, you can take advantage of the seven-year long support through cash payments that you can get quarterly.

Depending on the latest related tariff and type of technology, the amount provided by this solar panels scheme varies.

At present the maximum income is around £1,600 per annum but this income is also linked to inflation and will rise year on year.

The FIT Tariff (Feed in Tariff)

It was in 2010 when the Feed-in Tariff was implemented. In 2019, this solar PV panel scheme was unfortunately closed for new applications.

On the bright side, people who are currently registered will continuously benefit from this alternative solar panel grant.

The way it works is if you are generating electricity with the use of wind turbines or solar panels, then you can get an amount back for every unit you produce.

Each unit is being measured in kilowatts per hour. When you sell back the excess electricity, you will get a certain rate back.

Feed-in Tariff Overview

Under the Feed-in Tariff, the amount of money that you will get will vary according yo the size of your solar PV panel system, when the solar PV panel is was installed, and the type of technology.

From the date of your registration in the Feed-in Tariff, the payment will last for 20 years.

The Feed-in Tariff scheme promotes reduced payback time of the initial investment.

house with solar panels on roof

If you qualify for Feed-in Tariff, you need choose a certified solar panel installer. Apart from that, you can choose whether you want to get the payments up to 20 years from a list of energy suppliers or from your energy suppliers.

Be aware that within the Feed-in Tariff, there are two types of payments: generation tariff and export tariff.

In the generation tariff, you will receive a set amount for all the energy you produced. Depending on the size of your solar PV panel system, the tariff range is between 6.38-13.88p kWh/h.

As for the export tariff, the amount you get is related to the excess energy you sell back to the grid. You can get 7.77p kWh/h as well as sell half of the total energy produced.

Can I get solar panels for free in the UK?

Previously, if you had no budget to install solar panels, you could acquire free solar panels grants from the companies that installed your panels and in exchange, would rent your roof for a period of up to 25 years.

The company would essentially give free solar panels grants and in return, they would sell the excess energy you generate. As a bonus, they’d be responsible for the solar panel installation and maintenance.

Today, free solar panels grants are no longer available in the UK. Since solar panels tend to be more affordable now, and have a greater uptake than before, the UK government reduced the Feed-in Tariff.

So, the next best thing you can do is to try the solar panels incentives such as RHI and SEG.

Are grants available near me for solar panels and renewable energy?

The UK government do not often offer grants for solar panels. Rather, you can take advantage of the different solar panel schemes they offer if they aren’t currently offering grants.

Where can I get updates?

For more information about solar panel grants near you, you can visit 

Are solar panels worth it UK 2020?

In the UK, installing solar panels will be worth it if you can generate enough energy. You also need to ensure that you will stay in your property long enough.

Since solar panels are effective at absorbing solar energy, even from only daylight, you can produce your own energy.

As a result, you can enjoy reduced energy bills. You may also save significantly more money when you consider solar panel schemes.

Benefits of Installation Energy Efficient Solar Panels at Home

With solar panels, you have little to worry about when it comes to carbon footprints and other negative impacts to the environment.

While you are enjoying lower energy bills and saving, you are also protecting the environment.

Not only that, you can have energy independence, where you can control the energy source.

How much does it cost to install solar panels UK?

We cover this in great depth in another post – the cost to install solar panels

Essentially, you’re looking at a per panel cost between ₤350-₤500.

In practical terms, for a common domestic size, you will likely go for the 4kW solar panel system. This system costs about ₤6,000-£8,000 and your roof should measure approximately 29 sq meters.

However, the cost will still depend on the type and overall size of the solar panel system.


Although traditional solar panel grants and free solar panels are not available in the UK, there are other ways to experience the benefits of having an energy efficient solar panel system.

As you get solar panels installed, you can look forward to one of the best, long-term, eco friendly energy sources.

Get in touch with our friendly, expert solar panel installers in Scotland who are more than happy to help advise you on the best solution for your home.

To find out whether a solar panel with battery storage system or an ASHP is suitable for you or for more information, please call our friendly panel of expert installers today on 0333 577 2555.

By Carla Chalmers

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