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Wall-mounted solar panels

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Mounting solar panels on your wall – rather than your roof – is a straightforward, space-efficient way of gaining energy self-sufficiency while saving you hundreds of pounds each year. Wall-mounted solar panels tend to be less efficient than roof-mounted ones and can be more complex and costly to install, but for homes with roofs that would otherwise be unable to access solar energy, the benefits easily outweigh the drawbacks.

So, are wall-mounted solar panels the right option for your home, or are you better off opting for their roof-mounted counterparts? We’re analysing the key differences, unpacking wall-mounted solar panels’ main pros and cons and answering your top FAQs below.

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What are wall-mounted solar panels?

Wall-mounted solar panels are fitted to your home’s exterior walls rather than on your roof. 

By converting the sun’s light into renewable electricity to power your home, wall-mounted solar panels can cut your energy bill, reduce your reliance on the grid and – if you fancy taking advantage of one of the UK government’s top solar panel grants – allow you to turn a profit by selling the extra energy you produce back to the National Grid.

In the UK, solar panels usually go on your roof. So, why wall-mount them?

Well, wall-mounted solar panels are ideal if your home lacks the right roof (perhaps it’s too shaded, too steep or simply too small) to support a roof-mounted solar array. Or, possibly, you’ve already installed a solar system on your roof and want to maximise your home’s clean energy-producing capacity by adding panels to your walls, too.

Are they as good as roof-mounted solar panels?

To help you understand whether roof-mounted or wall-mounted solar panels suit your home, we’ve compared them using four metrics: efficiency, aesthetics, lifespan, and installation.

Wall-mounted vs. roof-mounted: Efficiency

Generally, wall-mounted solar panels aren’t as efficient as their roof-mounted counterparts. This is largely down to where and how they’re placed on your home’s exterior and how much sunlight that location allows them to receive.

Roof-mounted solar panels, for example, are typically installed at an angle facing the sun. This is usually between 20 and 50 degrees in the UK, ideally with a south-facing orientation.

By contrast, wall-mounted solar panels tend to be more limited by the pitch and orientation of the wall they’re fixed to. This means they may not receive as much direct sunlight as a roof-mounted solar array, which will limit the amount of electricity they can produce.

Wall-mounted vs. roof-mounted: Aesthetics

Aesthetically, the debate about roof-mounted vs. wall-mounted solar panels comes down to personal preference and the walls on which you choose to mount your solar panels.

For example, solar panels on your property’s rear walls won’t be visible from the street. This helps limit their visual impact on your property, which may also be a prerequisite depending on your home’s location or status as a listed building. However, solar panels mounted on your home’s street-facing walls will be more visible than roof-mounted solar panels, potentially detracting from your home’s appearance and aesthetic appeal.

Wall-mounted vs. roof-mounted: Lifespan

Wall-mounted solar panels last around 25 to 30 years, so there’s no difference in lifespan between them and their roof-mounted cousins.

When it comes to longevity, the deciding factors have more to do with the type of wall-mounted solar panel you choose – monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film are all popular styles in the UK – and how much you pay. Cheap solar panels, for example, are a balm for the budget but won’t last as long as higher quality, more expensive alternatives. You can explore this in detail in our 2024 guide to the UK’s best solar panels.

However, wall-mounted solar panels tend to be less exposed to the effects of adverse weather (particularly wind and snow) than roof-mounted ones. By avoiding inefficiency-inducing damage, wall-mounted solar panels may last longer than roof-mounted panels – but this is only likely to be a significant factor for homes with more extreme weather conditions.

Wall-mounted vs. roof-mounted: Installation

Roof-based solar panels are secured to your roof with specialised mounting hardware, such as brackets, rails and ballasts, to support them and help them withstand wind and snow.

Wall-mounted solar panels also use mounting systems, although they look slightly different and come in more shapes and sizes to fit your wall. These mounting systems include:

  • Flush mounts: solar panels are installed directly onto your wall’s surface for a seamless, streamlined look and feel
  • Tilted mounts: solar panels are fitted at an angle relative to the wall to maximise their exposure to sunlight. Depending on the hardware, titled mounts may be adjustable, allowing you to customise their position throughout the year
  • Pole mounts: solar panels are attached to a vertical pole mounted on the wall. Pole mounts are ideal if your home’s wall space is limited
  • Integrated mounts: solar panels are placed on mounts designed to be incorporated directly into your building’s structure (such as the facade or balcony railings) 
  • Artistic mounts: solar panels are placed on decorative wall-mounting systems – turning your solar panels into functional art pieces with personalised colours, patterns and designs

This array of wall-mounting installation options makes these solar panels a flexible solution, with perhaps more scope for flair and customisation than roof-mounted systems offer. That said, wall-mounted solar solutions can also be more complex, with equipment such as wall anchors required to stave off the additional demands of gravity.

Depending on how high the walls of your house are, wall-mounted panels can also be more challenging to install. Unlike your roof, your solar panel installers won’t be able to walk around and may have to complete the job with a ladder or harness.

This means wall-mounted solar panel installation can cost more than roof-mounting. Read more about this below or our guide on how much solar panels cost.

Pros and cons of wall-mounted solar panels

Space-efficient: by installing solar panels vertically on your walls, you maximise your home’s solar surface space and free up your roof – potentially for even more solar panels
Less vulnerable to damage: wall-mounted solar panels are typically more sheltered from adverse weather, such as wind and snow
Ideal for homes with unsuitable roofs: if your roof is too small, too steep or simply not the right shape to support solar panels, wall mounting will help
More expensive: wall-mounted solar panels are harder (and therefore more costly) to mount, owing to the more complex equipment required and the difficulties of accessing your home’s walls (vs. its roof)
Aesthetic considerations: while some homeowners may prefer how wall-mounted solar panels look, they’re more visible than roof-mounted varieties, which means they’ll have a bigger visual impact
Less efficient: because wall-mounted solar panels are fitted at a steeper angle than roof-mounted panels, they don’t capture as much sunlight, making them less efficient

Which houses best suit wall solar panels?

The houses best suited for vertical wall-mounted solar panels have a south-facing wall with unencumbered, unfiltered access to the sun all day. That means there shouldn’t be any neighbouring buildings or trees close enough to cast shade on these solar panels.

To simplify the planning permission process, this wall should also be on the side of the home that isn’t visible from the street – although this is only really an issue if your home is in a conservation area or World Heritage site.

It won’t be easy to meet all these conditions in an existing home, which is another reason why roof-mounted solar panels may be the better option. But, if you’re building a home from scratch, it’ll be much easier to factor in these spatial and positional requirements from the get-go. So, wall-mounted solar panels can be an excellent choice for UK homes if baked into the blueprint. 

Are wall-mounted solar panels expensive?

While the price of your wall-mounted solar panels will differ (the size of your array and the installer you choose will, for example, affect costs), wall-mounted solar systems tend to be more expensive than roof-mounted alternatives.

As we discussed earlier, this is largely down to the installation process. The best place for wall-mounted solar panels is high up on your walls – where there’s less chance of trees or buildings obstructing your array’s access to sunlight – and these locations are often trickier for installers to get to and work with than roofs.

Another heavy cost is the specialised equipment wall-mounted systems require – especially if you opt for a more advanced system, such as an integrated or artistic mount.

And that’s just your upfront costs – there are also ongoing costs to consider.

For example, wall-mounted solar panels’ location makes them less efficient than roof-mounted panels, meaning they generate less electricity. The less electricity powering your home, the more you’ll have to rely on the National Grid, meaning your energy-bill savings will be less. The other consequence of a reduced solar supply is less power to sell back to the grid via the UK government’s Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) incentive.

To demonstrate the kind of effect this might have on your ongoing solar costs (and, as a result, the time it’ll take you to break even on your solar investment), let’s assume that wall-mounted solar panels are 5% more expensive, and 5% less efficient, than the traditional on-roof variety.

Roof-mounted solar panelsWall mounted solar panels
System sizeEstimated installation costFuel bill saving/yearSEG payment
Total yearly savingsBreak-even point (years)Estimated installation costFuel bill savings
SEG payment/yearTotal yearly savingsBreak-even point

The figures in this table are estimates, of course – and to what extent your wall-mounted solar panels are less efficient than roof-mounted ones will depend on how you mount them and how much sunlight they get – but they do provide a general idea of how much you can save by opting for more traditional, roof-mounted panels. This could be up to £60 per year with a 7kW system, shaving almost a year off your solar panels’ break-even point.

Our point? Wall-mounted panels aren’t the best option unless your home’s circumstances merit the need for them (eg a roof that’s too small, too steep, too shaded, too misshapen or too full of solar panels already). Traditional roof-mounted solar panels are cheaper to install, more efficient and have less visual impact on your home.

Is planning permission required for wall-mounted solar panels?

Most likely not – installing wall-mounted solar panels on your UK home won’t require planning permission. Wall-mounted solar panels qualify under permitted development rights (which means you don’t need to apply for planning permission), provided the panels don’t project more than 20 cm from your home’s wall.

Things are a bit different if your home is in a World Heritage site or conservation area. In this case, you’ll need planning permission to fit solar panels to your principal or side elevation walls. Your panels must also not be visible from the road.

If you’re working with a listed building, you’ll need to apply for listed building consent (LBC) and planning permission. The LBC application requires you to demonstrate to your planning authority (usually your home’s local council) that your solar panels won’t impinge on the property’s appearance and that the installation isn’t irreversible.

For more information, explore our guide to planning permission for solar panels in the UK.

Wall-mounted solar panels FAQs

The short answer is yes: wall-mounted solar panels are absolutely worth your money. The longer answer, however, is that they’ll need to meet a specific set of requirements to be effective.

This includes:

  • A south-facing wall with access to direct sunlight and no objects in the way
  • A tilted mounting system to set the panels at an optimal angle for sun exposure

Without these conditions, your wall-mounted solar panels – less efficient than roof-mounted ones – may struggle to generate sufficient electricity to power your home. 

Exacerbating this is that you won’t be able to fit as many solar panels on your exterior walls as you will on your roof, making it harder to harness enough solar energy to meet your household’s electricity needs. More powerful roof-mounted systems offer a higher amount of SEG payments and energy-bill savings, so your wall-mounted solar panels cost you more in the short term and also in the long run – which makes them much harder to justify from a financial perspective.

However, if your roof can’t accept solar panels due to its structure or size (and if your home lacks the land for a ground-mounted solar array), then wall-mounted panels might be the only option to generate solar energy for your home. In which case, they’re absolutely worth it!

Yes, you can place wall-mounted solar panels on a flat or apartment.

You’ll just need to own the flat or apartment in question or have permission from your landlord to install them if you’re renting. Depending on your building’s regulations, you may also need consent from the owners’ corporation (OC), particularly given how much wall-mounted solar panels can affect a building’s appearance.

However, it’s less likely you’ll need OC consent with wall-mounted solar panels, given they’ll be located on your flat alone rather than on the roof (which tends to be a space shared by all the apartments and, therefore, more challenging to place solar installations on).

Once you’ve navigated your building’s rules, you may need to apply for planning permission with your LPA. To find out if you’ll need planning permission to add wall-mounted solar panels to your flat or apartment, go to the Planning Portal if you live in England or Wales, for Scotland, or Planning Northern Ireland for Northern Ireland.

Installing wall-mounted solar panels can take between one and two days, although the size and scale of the job – as well as how difficult it is to access the walls you want your solar panels on – will influence this. Your solar panel installer will tell you roughly how long the job will take and what access they’ll need to your home.

On the topic of solar panel installers, why not explore our guide to the best regional solar panel installers to locate a supplier near you? Or, for a quicker, simpler and more personalised way of finding the right solar panel installer, fill in our quote-finding form below.

Simply enter a few details, such as your monthly energy spend, the pitch of your roof and how soon you’d like your solar array installed, and we’ll pair you with the UK’s most reliable, reputable solar providers. They’ll provide quotes tailored to your needs. Our quote-finding service is 100 per cent free to use, too – no strings, no small print.

Rob Binns


Rob is an experienced writer and editor, with a wide range of experience in many topics, including renewable energy and appliances, home security, and business software. He has written for Eco Experts, Home Business, Expert Market, Payments Journal, and Yahoo! Finance. . 

Rob has a passion for smart home technology, online privacy, as well as the environment and renewables, which leads him to the Independent Advisor where he writes about related topics, including cyber security, VPNs, and solar power.