Do solar PV panels work in the UK? An honest, objective assessment

We installed our solar system in March 2019. We questioned whether solar PV panels work in the UK, but made the decision to proceed because we thought they would, and that they would make us more sustainable.

It’s been a year since the panels have gone up, and they have met our expectations. Our primary reason for installing a 6.16kW array was so that it could contribute towards the running costs our air source heat pump.

When we analyzed our performance, the panels were poor in producing electricity in November, December and January, generating 169, 176 and 187 kWh respectively.

solar panels work in the UK

The reason for these low numbers, in our case, can be directly attributed to our location and pitch of our roof installation (35 degrees). During these winter months, the sun drops very low in the sky, and the angle isn’t conducive to good solar power generation.

It also didn’t help that we had very light this winter, because it was an extremely dark, gloomy, cloudy and rainy winter. It was the wettest winter on record for our area.

By February, the sun was much higher in the sky, and we saw an improvement in power generation. What hampered our February numbers is that we also had the wettest February in history, with very few sunny, light days. Despite this, we generated 284 kWh.

When you break the year down, we had eight good solar PV months, one average month, and three poor ones. For us, those are decent numbers and returns.

To date, we’ve produced 5.7 mWh, which according to the SolarEdge app means we’ve saved spewing 1,500 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere.

As mentioned at the outset – it all comes to your expectations and in our case the panels have probably exceeded expectations. We’ve had three poor months, but for the rest of the year the panels produced decent amounts of electricity.

The verdict in our case: solar PV panels work in the UK, provided that you have the right roof orientation and pitch.

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