PV solar panels in the UK

By Solar Stu October 6, 2015

“When I first began constructing this website resource in 2004, solar heating was the most popular technology and PV solar panels in the UK were considered laughable.”

Annual contributions for an average home with PV solar panels in the UK.

Annual contributions for an average home with PV solar panels in the UK.

In fact, the photovoltaic industry at that time was so small that I was told “I wouldn’t bother if I was you” by one of its biggest players at that time. How the world changes in such a short period of time.

Advanced knowledge that the North Sea oil and gas fields had already peaked back then and that the golden age of cheap energy would be over for good within a few short years.

Luckily my resolve to continue on my solar-powered journey over the last decade continued.

As they say, “make hay while the sun shines”. Unfortunately, successive British governments didn’t prepare for that peak point and recklessly continued like the North Sea was an unlimited resource. Even Margaret Thatcher at the beginning of the North Sea bonanza recognised its limited potential and lifespan.

So here we are today, and finally, albeit two decades too late, the rush to find alternative ways of heating and powering our homes has begun. The predicted climb of our energy bills has brought alternative energy technologies into the mind of the nation and for those early adopters – into their hearts.

The UK doesn’t get enough sunshine.

PV solar panels have become an international success story too. This is because the global oil and energy markets have also seen sharp price rises and instability too! But the real reason photovoltaic technology has become the number one solar technology in such a short period of time is its longevity and ability to work well in temperate climates.

This makes PV solar ideal for the UK’s climate.

An old-view misconception about solar panels in general, is that the UK doesn’t get enough sunshine! Actually, we get around 60% of what the equator gets in solar radiation and photovoltaic panels actually work less efficiently in hotter climates.

Over the average thirty plus year lifespan of a panel, a UK installed panel will generate adequately even on cloudy days. Efficiency rates vary depending on factors such as local micro climate, orientation, shading and daytime temperatures.

Fully South, South East and South West are the optimum orientation for solar panels in general.

Check your roof orientation here:


More powerful than you can possibly imagine.

Solar panels are like the motor engine. The basic scientific principle is easy and they will be around for the next hundred years. Interestingly, photovoltaic technology was invented over a hundred years ago and only now as we turn a corner in the world’s availability of resources, do we seek to benefit from it – I digress.

An array of photovoltaic solar panels is like Lego. You can just keep adding panels to it depending on available roof or ground space. The same is true within a network locally, nationally or globally. The solar-powered century will grow in the same way as the internet did in the 1980s and 90s. That’s why its potential to change the world shouldn’t be underestimated.

There is nothing more powerful than when a technologies time has come.

How much power does PV solar panels generate?

Just like the 1980s, when we had a choice of Betamax or VHS video, the same is true with mono crystalline and poly crystalline panels. Each Mono crystalline panel has a peak output rating of between 250-300 Watts. Poly crystalline panels usually peak at 180 Watts per panel. Higher rated panels do cost more, but it’s just as important to find a good installer than just choosing based on panel branding or rating.

Photovoltaic panels are installed as an array. This together means they typically generate between 1-5 kW for an average domestic installation. Larger commercial arrays are available too.

How much power do PV solar panels generate?

1 kW – 800-1500+ kWh
2 kW – 1500-2000+ kWh
3 kW – 2000-2500+ kWh
4 kW – 3000-3500+ kWh

(Performance figures vary depending on the orientation and geographical location of the system).

Getting gas and Lecky under control.

At the time of writing, I have just spotted a marketing poster from one of the ‘big six’ energy firms stating that we should all get our “Gaz and Lecky” under control. Is this a subliminal message or are they just wanting you to play their ‘three cups and a ball switching’ game. I suggest it is both!

People within the energy sector know that the only way you can truly control the costs of your energy bills; is to reduce dependence, and the only way to of doing this is through alternative energy technologies such as solar panel technology.

So the question is; how many times do we have to ‘play their switching game’ before you finally realise that you need a more permanent solution to the problem of rising energy costs?

Millions of households across the world and not just the UK have invested in PV solar panels because they are preparing for a future where resources aren’t as abundant as we once knew. Global oil prices go up and down, but what is scarily consistent is the long-term upward trend of rising costs.

After food and water, powering and heating our homes is the next essential element to a healthy life, yet billions of people choose to leave this to the control of foreign-owned energy companies. Many choose not too, and those are the homes you see today with solar panels on their roofs.

Having PV solar panels on your roof is a badge of honor. A declaration that this family has wised up to the energy game. This home is no longer fully dependent on the world’s tyrants.

It declares that; this home installed solar panels first on this street, and we are proud we were savvy enough to be the first to reduce dependence on a game that is rigged and unsustainable for our children’s or grand children’s future world.

Those laughing in those early years have grown fainter and the questioning of whether solar panels work well in the UK have too. The only question I hear today, is whether to install sooner or later?

However, if you were a boy scout with their “be prepared” motto; you will already know the answer. With an average lifespan of thirty years plus, join our growing army of adopters who are savvy enough to take control.

Solar Stu
Solar Stu

"Solar panels in the UK are a new phenomenon, but the potential of this technology to change the world, cannot be understated. There's nothing more powerful than a technology whose time has come."

Stuart C Lovatt
Founder of Heat my Home.


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