UK solar PV system prices among the lowest in the world (but still catching up with Germany)

by James Martin II on December 7, 2012

UK solar pv system prices

Prices for installed solar systems are among the lowest in the world, according to data from the most recent quarterly report from NDP SolarBuzz. The UK came in roughly behind China, Germany, and Italy in terms of the affordability of solar photovoltaic (PV) system costs, although it is noted that costs have come down significantly in the past few quarters and are expected to continue on this trajectory as time goes on and competition between installers increases further.

There has been a global trend towards falling solar installation costs, with decreasing component costs (mainly silicon-based solar panels) leading the way. Average panel prices, NDP SolarBuzz notes, have stabilised across the globe, but large disparities still remain between nations with regard to how much it costs to install a full system.

Japan, whose market tends to prefer high-end Japanese-brand panels, is the most expensive place in the world to have a system installed, although changes to government incentive policy are aiming to curb this trend and drive down costs. After Japan is the USA, where ‘soft-costs’ such as red tape associated with installing a system make it the second most expensive place to install a system in the world.

On the other side of things, the Asia-Pacific region has some of the least expensive system prices, with China (where the majority of the world’s solar panels are manufactured) leading the way in rock-bottom price competitiveness in solar, mainly because of the low cost of labour and components and a preference for larger systems, which benefit from economies of scale across the board.

Europe and the UK are in the middle, price-wise. Germany is the most affordable place in Europe to have a system installed, thanks to the massive market that its world-leading renewable energy policies have engendered, followed by Italy, which until recently had similarly bold incentives for solar. The UK lags behind slightly but systems still present good value for money, especially with the feed-in tariff in place. As is the case elsewhere, larger systems benefit from economies of scale in the UK, with solar farms and solar parks presenting slightly more value for money, although some of this is mitigated by the additional costs that go into building larger systems.

Q4 Solarbuzz average solar installation costs

Average solar system prices by country. (Image source: SolarBuzz.)

Although the average cost of a fully installed system comes out to approximately $2.80/watt (W) or £1.80/W according to the SolarBuzz chart below, Solar Selections estimates that the cost can be even lower if a good deal is found. Amongst the offerings of the network of 50+ installers in the Solar Selections network, it is common to see quality systems priced at approximately £1.40/W. This means that a standard 4kWp solar system will cost in the range of £4,200 fully installed.

Thinking about going solar? Get free, impartial advice and compare quotes from installers in your area!

sales@solarselections.co.uk

020 7205 2267

© Solar Selections Ltd 2012

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