Solar panel grants in the UK (2024 guide)

Looking to make the switch to solar power but need help with the upfront cost? We explore solar panel grants and funding options available for homeowners.


October 19, 2023
Solar panel grants. Solar panels installed on the roof of a single-storey bungalo with a large garden.

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Jump to: What solar panel grants are available? | How much can I save with a solar panel grant? | Grants for landlords | Which solar panels can I get with a grant? | Installer schemes | FAQ

Every week, in excess of 3,000 solar panel installations are being carried out, according to the industry association Solar Energy UK, with homeowners keen to take advantage of the electricity bill discounts solar power offers. However, it’s perfectly possible to make even larger savings with solar panel grants. 

Renewable energy has been on the agenda with global governments for many years, and through the Build Back Greener programme, the UK aims to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions before 2050. As a result, several schemes are in place to make solar panels for homes more affordable. This is good news for the environment and also for homeowners. 

This article explains what grants and other finance options are available, who’s eligible, how to apply, and how much you can save.

Can you still get solar panel grants?

Although several UK government schemes have now closed, and others don’t cover solar panels, some grants are available that will bring solar panel installations down in price. Here’s an outline of some of the schemes available across the UK.

UK Solar panel grantsRunning timeRegions coveredPotential savings

Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4)

April 2022 to March 2026

England, Scotland, Wales

Free or partially free solar panels

Local Authority Eligibility Flexibility (LA Flex)


Local authority dependent

Varies depending on local authority

Warmer Homes Scotland



Free or partially free solar panels

Loans and other financial schemes also exist to make solar panels easier to afford in the initial instance and increase savings further down the line.

Financial assistance and saving schemesRunning timeRegions coveredPotential savings

Green Deal Loan


England, Scotland, Wales

Finance plans are available through providers to pay the loan back

0% VAT

April 2022 to March 2027

England, Scotland, Wales

20% saving on the cost of solar panels

Barclays Greener Home Reward

Pilot scheme until May 1, 2024

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

£1,000 towards the cost of solar panels

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)


England, Scotland, Wales

Up to 34p per kWh

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO4)

Modern homes with solar panels
Solar panels on a modern housing estate in the north or England (Image credit: Adobe)

Following the previous government scheme, ECO3, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) opened in July 2022 and will run until March 2026. It aims to tackle fuel poverty and rising energy costs while reducing carbon emissions; to date, more than 3.5 million homes have received improvements through the ECO scheme. 

Energy suppliers that sign up for ECO4 will advise homeowners and private and social housing tenants on energy-saving improvements they can make, including solar panels and new boilers. The companies are then obligated to fund and install these projects. As ECO4 is a grant, the money doesn’t have to be repaid. 

If you are in receipt of any of the following benefits, you are eligible to apply for an ECO4 grant:

You don’t need to apply to your current electricity provider and can approach the company that best suits your requirements. Obligated suppliers include:

Energy suppliers offering ECO4

British Gas

Outfox The Market


OVO Energy


Scottish Power


Shell Energy


SO Energy

ESB Energy

The Co-Operative Energy

Octopus Energy

The Utility Warehouse

Outfox The Market

Utilita Energy

Source: UK Energy Support


Local Authority Flexible Eligibility (LA Flex)

As more than 46% of fuel-poor households are not in receipt of benefits, according to the ECO4 report, the government has increased the scope of local authorities to fund energy efficient home upgrades. This allows local authorities to widen the eligibility criteria, tailoring them to their respective area. More residents are now able to apply, and many councils are awarding funds based on low incomes, health, age, vulnerability to cold weather, and the energy rating of properties. Under most authorities, properties in council tax band D and below are more likely to receive a LA Flex grant. 

LA Flex is open to both private tenants and homeowners, and applications can be made to your local authority.

Warmer Homes Scotland

The Scottish Government’s Warmer Homes Scotland scheme delivers energy-saving home improvements for Scottish homeowners and private tenants who have lived at the same address for a year or more.  

Assessors advise on a range of suitable improvements, which could include solar panels, and in most cases, the cost is met by the government. If you are required to contribute, there are interest-free loans available to cover this. 

To be eligible, you must: 

You must also meet one of the following criteria:

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Green Deal Loans

Although the original Green Deal loan scheme closed in 2015, loans are still available through a registered Green Deal provider. The difference between a Green Deal loan and a regular loan is that the former can be paid back through your electricity bill, with the repayments never exceeding the savings you are expected to make on your bill by installing energy-saving improvements.

As the residents of the property benefit from energy efficient upgrades, if the current homeowner moves home, the new occupier—or whoever pays the energy bills on the property—takes on the repayments.

0% VAT on solar panels

Solar panels grants. Black solar panels installed on a black roof with blue skies overhead.
Solar panels and other energy-saving measures are eligible for 0% VAT until 2027. (Image credit: Adobe)

Solar panels and other energy efficient measures, such as heat pumps, will have no VAT until 2027. This is part of the UK government’s move to incentivise homeowners to switch to renewable energy sources.

Barclays Greener Home Reward

Under the Greener Homes Reward plan, if you have an existing residential mortgage with Barclays, you could be eligible for help towards the cost of solar panels and other renewable energy home improvements. 

Although a pilot scheme at present and set to run until May 1, 2024, homeowners can receive £1,000 towards the cost of solar panels. The application criteria include: 

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

The Office of Gas and Electricity Market’s (Ofgem) Smart Export Guarantee allows you to sell any electricity that is generated by your solar panels and is surplus to your family’s requirements to the National Grid. Smaller electricity suppliers might not offer this export tariff, but many larger providers do, and you don’t need to choose the company that supplies your electricity from the grid. 

It’s worth shopping around, as electricity suppliers offer different tariff rates, ranging from £0.01 per kWh to £0.34. However, the higher tariffs are often reserved for providers’ existing customers.

SupplierSEG tariffRate per kWhVariable or fixed


Agile Outgoing




Outgoing Fixed

15p (4.1p if not a customer)



Export Variable Value

5.6p (3p if not a customer)



Next Export

5.5p if E.on installed the system (3p if not)

Fixed for 12 months

Scottish Power

Smart Export Variable Tariff




Ovo SEG Tariff


Fixed for 12 months


SEG V1.1 Tariff




Smart Export Tariff



British Gas

Export and Earn Flex



Utility Warehouse

UW Smart Export Guarantee



Correct at time of publishing.

In order to receive the export rate under SEG, there are several factors to consider:

How much can I save through solar panel grants?

By applying for a grant, homeowners can maximise the savings delivered by solar panels. The amount you can receive is dependent on a number of factors and varies on a case-by-case basis. If you’re applying for an ECO4 grant, your solar panels and the installation should cost you nothing or a small percentage of the price. For Scottish residents, the situation is the same through the Warmer Homes Scotland grant, providing you fulfil the criteria.

What solar panel grants are available for landlords?

Solar panel grants. Solar panels installed on the roofs of a row of new-build houses.
Solar panel grants can also help landlords and tenants make the switch to solar power. (Image credit: Adobe)

As a private landlord, you may be entitled to solar panel grants, saving your and your tenants money and making your property more appealing to prospective tenants.

Solar panels also help your property comply with the government’s new legislation regarding energy ratings. From 2025 all newly rented residential properties must have a rating of C or above, and all rental properties must comply by 2028. 

Energy Company Obligation 

If your tenants are considered to fall under the low income bracket or are in receipt of the benefits listed above, they could be eligible for the ECO4 solar panel grants. The eligibility of the tenant is considered for ECO4 home improvements rather than that of the landlord. Social housing tenants are not eligible. 

Your tenant requires your written consent to apply. 

Local Authority Flexible Eligibility

Designed as an extension to ECO4, LA Flex also allows tenants to benefit from energy efficient measures, providing they obtain consent from their landlord. The scheme isn’t available for social housing tenants.

Warmer Homes Scotland

For privately rented properties in Scotland, tenants may apply for a grant, providing the landlord consents.

Which types of solar panels are available through grant schemes?

Although there are three main types of solar panels for residential properties, homeowners generally choose either monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels. 

Monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and PERC panels are all available with a solar panel grant, and your installer will talk you through your best options based on your energy needs.

What financial assistance is available through solar panel installers?

Many solar panel installers and energy suppliers offer financial assistance to help homeowners fund their solar systems. E.ON, for example, offers 0% finance and a range of payment options, while Octopus has several financial options available, including money off incentives. Contact your energy provider for details of what they are offering customers.

Solar panel grants FAQ

What are the main disadvantages of solar panels?

The main disadvantage of installing solar panels is their initial cost. The average figure used to be in the region of £10,000, resulting in homeowners waiting at least 15 years to break even. However, prices have decreased substantially, and now panels are paying for themselves in as little as four or five years.  Another disadvantage is the reliance of solar panels on good weather. In the UK, we experience many dull, cloudy days, and solar systems typically generate less electricity on those days. Solar technology is constantly being improved, and most panels on the market today—while less efficient on rainy days—still produce enough electricity for a family to be comfortable, with minimum reliance on supplied electricity.

Do solar panels increase the value of your home?

Not only do solar panels save you money on your electricity bills, but they can also increase the revenue from the sale of your property. By making your home more attractive to potential buyers, solar panels can decrease its time on the market and increase its value by at least 4%.

Can I run my house purely on solar power in the UK?

If your solar system is powerful enough and can operate at maximum efficiency, it is possible to run your home on solar power alone. However, there are many variables to this, including the weather conditions and how you use the energy generated, so it’s sensible to expect some electricity to be drawn from the National Grid.

Is it worth getting a battery with solar panels?

If you want to use as much of your ‘free’ generated electricity as possible, a solar battery can help by storing any unused energy until you need it. The downside is that batteries can be costly—up to £6,000 depending on capacity and composition. Add to that their 15-year life span, half that of a solar panel, and they can work out very expensive. With additional annual savings from a solar battery in the region of £200, they may not be the right choice for you.

Do solar panels work at night?

Solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity; without it, they cannot produce the energy needed to power your home. At night, your household’s electricity will have to come from a storage battery or be supplied by the National Grid. Using energy-hungry appliances during the day when you can utilise the free electricity from your panels means your reliance on supplied electricity is minimised.

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