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Can I Get Free Solar Panels in the UK?


As awareness about renewable energy sources and their environmental benefits continues to grow, more and more people in the United Kingdom are considering solar panels for their homes. However, the cost of installing solar panels remains a significant barrier for many individuals. So, the question arises: Can you get free solar panels in the UK? While it is not possible to obtain completely free solar panels, there are various schemes and initiatives that can help reduce the upfront costs considerably.

The Feed-in Tariff Scheme

One popular initiative that has been available in the UK for several years is the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme. Under this scheme, homeowners who install solar panels on their properties are eligible to receive payments for the electricity they generate, as well as for any excess energy they export back to the grid. These payments are made over a period of 20 years, providing a reliable income stream and helping offset the initial investment.

The FIT scheme does not provide free solar panels per se, as homeowners are required to cover the upfront installation costs themselves. However, the income generated through the scheme can, over time, help pay off the initial investment and even generate additional income. The FIT scheme closed to new applicants in 2019, but those who have already installed solar panels can still benefit from it.

Community Energy Projects

Another way to access solar panels without bearing the full cost is through community energy projects. These projects involve groups of individuals coming together to collectively fund and install solar panels on community buildings or even on private properties. By pooling resources, participants can share the expenses and enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

Community energy projects often operate on a cooperative basis, with members receiving a proportional share of the electricity generated by the panels. This allows individuals who may not have the means to install solar panels on their own to still access and benefit from renewable energy. While not entirely free, community energy projects provide an opportunity to reduce costs significantly and contribute to a sustainable future.

Government Grants and Funding

The UK government also offers grants and funding options to encourage the adoption of renewable energy, including solar panels. The availability and eligibility criteria for these grants may vary, so it is important to research the current programs and schemes in place.

One such initiative is the Green Homes Grant, which was launched in 2020. This scheme provided vouchers to eligible homeowners that covered up to two-thirds of the cost of energy-saving home improvements, including solar panel installations. However, it is worth noting that the Green Homes Grant closed to new applications in March 2021.

Additionally, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides financial incentives for homeowners who generate heat using renewable energy sources, such as solar thermal panels. While not directly applicable to solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, it is an alternative option for those looking to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels for heating purposes.


While obtaining completely free solar panels in the UK is not possible, there are various avenues to reduce the upfront costs significantly. Initiatives such as the Feed-in Tariff scheme, community energy projects, and government grants provide opportunities for homeowners to access and benefit from solar energy without shouldering the entire financial burden of installation.

By taking advantage of these schemes and exploring available funding options, individuals can contribute to a greener future while also enjoying the long-term financial benefits of solar energy. It is essential to thoroughly research and understand the eligibility criteria and requirements of each scheme before embarking on a solar panel installation project.

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