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Solar panel grants: Available UK schemes in 2024

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The basic rule of thumb is that if you receive benefits, then there’s a good chance you’ll qualify for a grant. You can find a full list of benefits that may qualify below.

Anywhere between a few hundred pounds to the full cost of the solar panels and installation. It all depends on your financial circumstances.

There are other ways you can get financing, such as schemes run by some UK banks. See below for more details.

Solar panels can reduce your annual bills by up to £1,190

It’s possible to get free solar panels with the ECO4 grant

For non-qualifying households, subscription plans, instalments and other funding options exist

Solar panels are gaining popularity among UK homeowners looking to cut energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint, with over 1.3 million already benefiting. The average cost of solar panels for a three-bedroom house is around £9,000, including a battery, but the potential annual savings of up to £1,190 means you could break even within eight years or less. 

Solar panels grants, like the ECO4 scheme offer free solar panels to qualifying households, helping mitigate upfront costs. Our experts have explored the latest grants and funding options, ensuring you have the information needed to make the most of solar energy opportunities.

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Are government grants for solar panels available in the UK?

Several solar panel grants for homes and other incentives are currently available for UK homeowners, designed to encourage using renewable energy and reduce your household bills.

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We regularly review solar panel funding, updating our information with the latest government and financial organisations’ announcements. Last updated 18 March 2024.

UK solar grants Run time Eligibility Potential savings
Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4) inc LA Flex April 2022 – March 2026 Homes in England, Scotland, or Wales. Eligibility determined by local authorities Households could receive free solar panels
Solar Together Ongoing Homeowners and renters living in a participating council area Savings vary (savings of 10–25% have been made previously)
Home Upgrade Scheme (HUG2) April 2023 to March 2025 Low income households,off-grid, low energy efficiency rated property Local authority dependent, but households could receive up to £10,000
Ongoing
All households in Scotland
Households could receive up to £6,000
Ongoing
Welsh households receiving income-related benefits, properties with low energy performance ratings
Households could receive free solar panels

Although several government grants for solar panels have expired in recent years, other incentives are available.

Scheme Expiration date Potential savings Eligibility
Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) Ongoing Homes with a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certificate, or equivalent document. Installation must include an export meter and have a maximum capacity of 5MW 1p – 24p per kWh of excess electricity produced by solar panels
Zero per cent VAT April 2022 – March 2027 Solar panel purchases and installations made in England, Scotland, and Wales Savings dependent on solar panels cost
Feed-in Tariff Expired 1 April 2019 (Those registered before this date will continue to benefit for the remainder of the 20-year period they signed up for)

Owners of solar panels, wind turbines, and micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP) systems

Generation Tariff – 6.38p – 13.88p per kWh Export Tariff – 4.77p per unit
Green Homes Grant Expired 31 March 2021

All homeowners in England

Up to two-thirds of the total cost (up to £5,000); or up to 100% (maximum of £10,000) for those on qualifying benefits
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Expired 31 March 2022 Owners of biomass boilers, heat pumps, and solar thermal collectors

Up to £2,981

Free Solar Panel Scheme Expired March 2019

All homeowners

Fully free solar panel system (in exchange for your installer receiving all Feed-in Tariff payments)

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Eligibility for solar panel grants

The eligibility requirements for grants for solar panels can encompass a wide range of factors. These include the type and location of the property, the financial situation of the applicant, the energy efficiency of the building, and the specifics of the solar installation process.

It’s important to understand the specific eligibility criteria for each grant before applying, to ensure the time and effort invested in the application process are well-placed. In all cases, the exact details of these criteria will be outlined by the organisation administering the grant.

Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4) including LA Flex

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a UK government scheme managed by Ofgem. It places a Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) on medium and large energy suppliers and aims to improve the country’s least energy-efficient homes – those with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of D or below. It also targets low-income families and other vulnerable households receiving government benefits, such as income support or child benefits.

Under the ECO, there have been multiple phases, each with slight changes in focus and eligibility criteria. If you receive any of the following benefits, you could be eligible for ECO4 funding: 

  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit (WTC)
  • Child Tax Credits (CTC)
  • Pension Credit Guarantee
  • Pension Credit Savings Credit

Anyone with additional Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits could also be eligible for ECO4, regardless of whether they receive Universal Credit.

The primary focus of the grant is on homes occupied by their owners. However, it will also extend support to energy inefficient social housing and privately rented residences, provided the property owner permits works to take place.

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How to apply for the ECO4 grant

Applying for an ECO4 grant is quick and straightforward, and there are a number of companies that offer the grant. These can be found through an online search. The application follows a similar process, whoever you choose to go through. 

  1. Follow the online application process to confirm your eligibility.
  2. Once you have done this, you’ll receive an email containing a unique reference number and a document. This asks for your permission to contact the Department of Work and Pensions to confirm your benefits. The document can be digitally signed and returned.
  3. Within a week, you should be contacted to arrange a free survey. The survey consists of a 10 – 15 minute inspection of your home’s energy efficiency measures and is designed to be minimally intrusive.
  4. Once the survey is completed and your application approved, installing your solar panels can take up to eight weeks. 

LA Flex (Local Authority Flexible Eligibility) is an extension of the ECO4 scheme. Under this initiative, local authorities can determine eligibility criteria for energy efficiency measures and identify households that may not have been eligible under the national criteria. However, they typically include conditions such as:

  • The household is defined as low-income and is at risk of fuel poverty
  • The property is hard to heat, often due to poor insulation or lack of a central heating system
  • The residents are vulnerable in some way, such as being elderly, disabled, or having young children

It’s also important to note that private tenants can be eligible under LA Flex, with their landlords’ permission.

If you are eligible under ECO4, or LA Flex, you could be entitled to up to 100 per cent off your solar panels. 

Expert insights: Q&A with Kevin Henney, Director at ECO4 Hub

To gain a deeper understanding of how the ECO4 grant works, our researchers have spoken to Kevin Henney, Director at ECO4 Hub

Independent Advisor: First, please tell us a little about yourself and your role.

Kevin Henney ECO4 Hub DirectorKevin Henney: I currently serve as Director at ECO4 Hub. I am responsible for managing and overseeing all the activities related to the ECO4 grant programme. This includes reviewing grant applications, coordinating with local authorities, and ensuring the smooth and efficient installation of energy-efficient systems for our clients.

I have been working in the energy sector for over 16 months, with a strong focus on promoting sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Prior to my current role, I was a software engineer and digital marketer. My passion for creating a more sustainable future drives my work, and I’m proud to be part of a team that is actively making a difference through the ECO4 grant programme.

Independent Advisor: How many grants have been approved over the past year? Have you seen an increase in grant applications over the past 12 months?

Henney: Over the past six months, we have successfully finished more than 60 installations, and we currently have more than 100 slated for the near future. 

Over the last 12 months, we’ve indeed observed a significant uptick in grant applications. This surge can be attributed to the rise in the cost of living and energy, as well as increased awareness about the grant.

Independent Advisor: Can you give us an idea of how much money people are awarded? Is there a range or an average amount you can share?

Henney: The amount of money awarded per grant varies greatly depending on the work required for each individual property. Our goal under the regulations is to maximise energy efficiency. 

We’ve dealt with diverse projects, from single-measure installations like a boiler replacement worth £5,000, up to comprehensive energy makeovers involving internal wall insulation, loft insulation, an upgrade to an air source heat pump and the installation of solar panels, with a total value exceeding £80,000.

Independent Advisor: How long does it typically take for someone to get their grant approved?

Henney: The approval time for a grant depends on a few factors, mainly the two routes that can be followed:

  • Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO): This applies to individuals on eligible benefits. This is a quicker process, as once the benefits are verified we can proceed to survey/installation. This could take less than a week.
  • Local Authority Flexibility: The criteria for this route are determined by the local council. Some councils have additional routes, such as a combined household income below £31,000 per annum or a person suffering from an illness that worsens in cold weather. This process can take a few weeks, as the council needs to approve the proposed work.

Independent Advisor: Once a grant is approved, what are the next steps for a homeowner? How long does it take from grant approval to solar panel installation?

Henney: Upon approval of a grant and once the client confirms they are happy with the proposed work, we can proceed to installation. In some cases, we’ve even completed installations within the same week of approval.

Independent Advisor: Are there any common mistakes people make when applying that can delay the grant approval process?

Henney: The most common errors made during application that delay the process include not using the exact spelling of the applicant’s name and not having the necessary documentation for local authority approval, such as a council tax bill. It’s essential to pay attention to these details to ensure a smooth application process.

Independent Advisor: What documentation is required when applying for the ECO4 grant?

Henney:  If you receive benefits, you must sign a consent form, which the Energy Saving Trust verifies, and provide a copy of a utility bill. If you are applying under the Local Authority Flexibility criteria, you’ll need your council tax bill, ID, and evidence that the household income is under £31,000 per annum, whether in the form of a pension statement, three months’ payslips and bank statements, or a P60 dated in the last six months.


Solar Together

Solar Together is a group buying scheme for solar panels operating in local council regions of the UK. Its goal is to make solar power more accessible and affordable for homeowners and small businesses.

The scheme brings together households and local government authorities to create a collective buying group for solar panels. Interested parties register, and solar panel providers bid for the opportunity to install their panels for the group. This typically results in a competitive installation price, lower than an individual household could negotiate.

Once a winning provider is selected, registered participants receive a personal recommendation tailored to their specific needs. They can then decide whether or not to go ahead with the installation.

The Solar Together scheme aims to promote the use of renewable energy, reduce carbon emissions, and help residents save money on their energy bills. It not only provides a platform for more cost-effective solar panel installations and high-quality installations, full technical surveys, and thorough customer service throughout the process.

Home Upgrade Scheme (HUG2)

The HUG2 scheme has been running since April 2023 and will accept applications until March 2025, supporting low income families by awarding grants of up to £10,000 for solar panels and other energy efficient home improvements. 

Privately rented property eligibility is limited to landlords with a portfolio of four properties or fewer. Landlords must contribute one-third of the total cost of any upgrades.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Reside in a property that’s a domestic off-gas grid dwelling with an EPC rating of band D or lower
  • Have a combined gross annual income of under £31,000, which must be verified, 

or

  • Be located in an economically deprived neighbourhood (based on data drawn from the Indices of Multiple Deprivation)

Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan Schemes

The Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan Scheme is available to all homeowners in Scotland and is designed to award either grants or provide interest-free loans for energy efficient home improvements. 

A rural uplift is also available to provide extra support to rural and island homes, which can face increased costs to install home improvements.

The Scottish Government’s scheme can help with: 

  • Solar panels: £6,000 (£1,250 grant plus £4,750 optional loan). Funding only available if taken as a package of measures.
  • Solar water heating systems: £5,000 (loan only, no grant available)
  • Hybrid solar panel/ water heating systems: £5,000 (loan only, no grant available)
  • Solar storage systems (heat or electric batteries): £6,000 (£1,250 grant plus £4,750 optional loan). Funding only available for either a heat or electric battery if taken as a package of measures

Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest Scheme

The Warm Homes Nest Scheme from the Welsh government offers free advice on making homes energy efficient, and eligible households could receive free home improvements, including solar panels.  

You could be eligible for free solar panels if you meet all three conditions below:

  • Own or privately rent your home
  • Have poor energy efficiency and high heating bills
  • Receive a means-tested benefit or have a chronic respiratory, circulator, or mental health condition

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

This scheme came into effect on 1 January 2020 (after being introduced by the UK government), with the view to replace the previous Feed-in Tariff scheme. The SEG mandates that larger energy suppliers must offer an export tariff to their customers who generate their own renewable electricity, such as through solar panels or wind turbines.

Anyone who installs a renewable energy system, such as solar panels or wind turbines, with a capacity up to 5MW can qualify for the SEG. They must also have an export meter installed and a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certificate, or equivalent document. While it’s not necessary to incorporate a solar storage battery into your system to be eligible for SEG, it could be a useful addition, ensuring no surplus energy is wasted. 

How to apply for SEG

In order to receive payment under SEG, you will need to apply directly to a supplier offering SEG tariffs. The energy suppliers providing these tariffs are listed on the Ofgem website.

It’s worth noting that the supplier who provides your energy doesn’t necessarily need to be your SEG tariff supplier. These can be two separate entities.

Suppliers under the SEG are mandated to offer you a tariff, but they have the discretion to set the terms of that tariff, which could be either fixed or variable.

Be aware that these tariffs can shift over time, so it’s advisable to regularly review your current tariff to ensure it remains competitive.

If you possess a storage device like a household battery or an electric vehicle capable of importing and exporting electricity, you could benefit from the SEG. You can seek advice about this from your potential SEG tariff supplier.

Zero VAT

In the UK, the VAT (Value Added Tax) rate on most goods and services is 20 per cent. However, under government incentives, certain energy-saving materials and equipment, including the best solar panels, are eligible for a reduced VAT rate. 

This reduced rate is currently 0 per cent until 31 March 2027, and it applies to the supply and installation of solar panels on residential properties in England, Scotland, and Wales. 

This reduced VAT rate is part of the UK government’s efforts to encourage energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.

Other ways to fund solar panels

Several other organisations offer assistance to fund solar panel installations.

SchemeRun timeEligibilityPotential savings
Barclays Greener HomesOngoingFirst time claimers with a Barclays residential mortgage customers who pay by direct debit£1,000
Lloyds Bank Eco Home RewardRegister by 31 October 2023Lloyds Bank mortgage customers£500 cashback
Halifax Green Living RewardRegister by 31 October 2023Halifax mortgage customers£500 cashback
Sunsave Plus subscriptionWaiting list for applicationsUK resident between 18 and 60 years old, property owner, and in full-time employment. Acceptance is subject to statusPay for your solar installation in monthly instalments

Barclays Greener Homes

As part of its commitment to encouraging energy-efficient home improvements, Barclays has launched the Greener Home Reward scheme. This initiative is designed to assist its UK residential mortgage customers in installing solar panels. By registering online for the scheme, eligible customers can enjoy a financial incentive towards solar technology.

Under this scheme, Barclays offers a cash reward of £1,000 to its residential mortgage customers who have installed and fully paid for their solar panel systems. However, to ensure quality, a business registered with TrustMark must carry out the installation. 

Once the installation is complete, the customer is eligible for the £1,000 cash reward, thereby making their shift to sustainable energy more affordable.

If you applied on or before 31 January 2024, you’ll need to submit your claim form by 31 July 2024, and a further month to provide proof of the home improvements. 

Applications received on or after 1 February 2024, you’ll need to claim the reward within nine months from the date of application and provide proof of the completed work.

Lloyds Bank Eco Home Reward

If you already have, or are applying for, a Lloyds Bank mortgage, or are borrowing funds for home improvements, you can claim up to £500 cashback for a solar panel installation. 

Once you’ve checked your eligibility, and registered either online or in person, use your preferred supplier to install your solar panels, before claiming your cashback.

Halifax Green Living Reward

Whether you’re an existing Halifax mortgage holder, in the process of applying for one, or securing funds for home improvements, you’re eligible to claim up to £500 cashback for installing solar panels.

To take advantage of this offer, you’ll first need to verify your eligibility and register. Following this, you can proceed with the installation of your solar panels using the supplier of your choice. Once the installation is completed, you’re ready to claim your cashback.

Sunsave Plus subscription

Sunsave has been installing solar panel systems since 2022 and, as part of the government’s push towards renewable energy, it has received funding for its Electric Roof project. Designed to make solar panels affordable for more homeowners, Sunsave Plus is a subscription service with a monthly starting fee of £69 and no up-front costs.

The subscription plan includes a 20-year maintenance and monitoring service, battery and inverter replacements, and access to tariffs for varied electricity rates, increasing savings.

What help is available for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales?

There might not be many grants for solar panels in Scotland, but Scottish residents can take advantage of schemes like the Home Energy Grant and Loan Scheme, as well as ECO4. If you’re looking for a Welsh government grant for solar panels, the Warm Home Nest Scheme offers free advice and eligible homeowners could receive financial help for solar panel installation. While there are no specific grants for solar panels in Northern Ireland, homeowners can still make savings via the zero per cent VAT scheme and the Barclays Greener Home Reward.  

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How to avoid scam schemes

During our extensive research into funding schemes and government grants for solar panels, our experts found several websites claiming to offer government-backed funding. However, they were not linked to any official programme upon further investigation. You can protect yourself from falling victim to scam solar panel schemes and ensure you’re participating in legitimate, beneficial government grants by following these simple steps:

  • Be wary of unsolicited offers: Exercise caution with unsolicited calls or emails offering solar incentives. Government agencies typically don’t approach homeowners in such a manner
  • Seek official websites: For any offers related to government schemes, visit the official government or grant websites for confirmation and details
  • Verify identity: If you’re suspicious, confirm the identity of any company claiming to offer government grants or free solar panels. Genuine representatives should have no issue providing official documentation
  • Contact authorities: If you’re uncertain about the legitimacy of a company or offer, contact relevant government departments or consumer protection agencies for advice

Expired solar panel grants

There have been a number of solar panels grants that have recently expired. Such schemes typically had set durations or funding limits, meaning that once a certain date was reached or the available funding was exhausted, the grant would expire. This means while the grants could have provided significant assistance at the time, they are no longer available for new applicants. Here are a few examples of schemes that have now expired.

Feed-in Tariff

The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) was a UK government scheme designed to encourage the uptake of a range of small-scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technology.

Under the FiT scheme, homeowners who installed renewable electricity systems, such as solar panels, wind turbines, or hydroelectric power, could receive payments from their energy supplier. These payments were for the electricity they generated and used themselves, as well as any surplus electricity they exported back to the national grid.

Although the scheme closed to new entrants in March 2019, existing contracts, up to a maximum of 20 years, continue to be honoured.

Green Homes Grant

The Green Homes Grant was a government scheme designed to help homeowners and landlords in England make their homes more energy-efficient. 

Under the scheme, vouchers worth up to £5,000 were issued to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of making energy efficiency improvements to homes. The types of improvements covered under the grant included insulation, low-carbon heating, draught proofing, and solar panels. For low-income households, the vouchers could be worth up to £10,000 and cover 100 per cent of the cost.

However, the Green Homes Grant scheme faced various criticisms, including difficulties in administration and accessing accredited installers, which led to a low take-up. The scheme was initially planned to run until March 2022, but it was closed prematurely in March 2021.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The RHI aimed to encourage the uptake of renewable heat technology among householders and businesses through financial incentives. It was the first of its kind in the world and was introduced to help the UK meet its carbon reduction targets.

The Domestic RHI was launched in April 2014 and helped with the installation of biomass heating systems, ground or water source heat pumps, air-to-water heat pumps, and solar thermal panels. The scheme provided a financial incentive in the form of quarterly cash payments over seven years to homeowners, landlords and self-builders who installed or had installed eligible renewable heating technology.

The scheme’s goal was to compensate for the difference between the cost of installing and operating these heating systems compared to fossil fuel systems, thus making renewable heat sources a more attractive option.

The RHI scheme officially closed to new applicants on 31 March 2021. Existing participants will continue to receive their payments for the full term of their agreement.

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Frequently asked questions about solar panel grants

Our experts answer all your burning questions about government grants for solar panels

There are numerous advantages to installing solar panels, and grants exist to make renewable energy an affordable option.

Solar panel grants and incentives include the ECO4 scheme and SEG. Local authorities in England and the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland also have a range of grants, loans and other types of support available for installing solar panels.

There are various reasons why some solar panel grants have closed. 

One primary reason is budgetary constraints. Governments operate with finite resources and need to make decisions about how to allocate funds. Sometimes, the cost of running a grant scheme outweighs the perceived benefits, or other initiatives might be deemed a higher priority.

Another reason could be changes in government policy or strategy. Over time, the focus of energy policy might shift from one technology to another, causing the phasing out of certain grants. For example, as the cost of solar panels has decreased significantly over the past decade, governments could feel that market forces alone are sufficient to encourage adoption, and that subsidies are no longer necessary or could be better used to support other, less mature technology.

A grant scheme might also close due to issues with its implementation or outcomes. For instance, if there are problems with administration, the scheme isn’t delivering the expected results, or uptake from eligible people is low, it might be discontinued.

If you’re considering installing solar panels, looking into grants, incentives, and other forms of financial support can be a worthwhile part of your research. They can significantly reduce the up-front cost of the installation and increase the financial return on your investment.

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The data used to power this calculator is sourced from various solar companies and industry bodies, including the UK government, the Energy Saving Trust and Ofgem. Please note that costs are estimated and based on a UK average, and should not be taken as the exact price you would pay. If you’d like to get an accurate quote for solar panels, then you can use this form to get an estimate from one of our trusted partners.

Katharine Allison

Energy Saving Writer

As Independent Advisor’s energy saving expert, Katharine, a keen advocate for sustainability, is an authority on solar panels, double glazing, and cutting-edge renewable energy technologies. Her dedication merges with a commitment to enlighten and steer readers toward embracing eco-friendly solutions and the latest trends in sustainability.

With over 10 years of experience, she has worked with some of the UK’s leading companies and publications, including the Federation of Master Builders, Architectural Digest, and Denon Construction. 

Katharine is particularly passionate about consumer causes and animal welfare and has art, philosophy, and psychology degrees. She lives with her sled dogs in East Sussex.