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Last updated: 16 July 2024

Solar Panel Grants Scotland: Eligibility & How to Apply in 2024

Solar panel grants in Scotland
  • The ECO4 scheme can allow Scottish homeowners to potentially get free solar panels.
  • Due to the implementation of 0% VAT, buyers can save £2,850 on solar panels for the average Scottish home.
  • The Smart Export Guarantee allows solar panel owners to earn back between 5p to 20p per kWh sold back to the grid.

Installing solar panels in Scotland can be a great way to mitigate the costs of your electricity, provide clean energy, and gain energy independence from the national grid. While they can be expensive, numerous solar panel grants can help you pay for installation. In this guide, we’ll help you find the best solar panel grants for Scotland and explain how to apply for them.

However, navigating Scottish government grants for solar panels and getting up-to-date prices on your own can be difficult, which is why it’s best to get multiple prices from trusted installers. Unfortunately, finding a single trustworthy professional can be a tedious process taking days of research, let alone finding more than one professional. That’s where our handy service comes in.

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Which solar panel grants are available in Scotland in 2024?

Available solar panel grants in Scotland

Out of the many grants available, ECO4 and Warmer Homes Scotland provide direct solar panel funding in Scotland, meaning they can help pay for solar panels in the UK, while other grants may decrease costs in other ways. For example, the 0% VAT policy can cut the price of the average 4kW solar system by £2,850 but does not provide money directly and is instead a tax decrease in the market price from the supplier’s side.

Similarly, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) does not provide you with money to buy panels but it can allow you to earn money from them. In this sense, it can potentially help decrease the payback period of your investment, assuming you produce surplus energy.

Scotland Solar Panel Grants
Grants Run Time Potential Savings Eligibility
Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4) April 1st 2022 – March 2026 Partially or fully FREE solar panel possibility Low-income households
0% VAT April 1st 2022 – March 2027 £2,000 (4kW solar panels + battery) All UK buyers
Warmer Homes Scotland September 2015 - (indefinite) Up to £10,000 Low-income households with low EPC ratings
Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) January 1st 2020 – (indefinite) Additional £45 to £80 (£440 to £660 total energy savings) Any solar panel owner
Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) April 2023 - April 2025 Regionally dependent Companies and institutions looking to decarbonise

ECO4

The Energy Company Obligation Grant, or ECO4, is a government program that pays for insulation, solar panels, and heat pumps among other measures. As part of the grant, consumers can potentially earn entirely free solar panels. However, this is contingent on an assessment of your home.

To be eligible for the scheme, homeowners must have a home with an EPC rating of E or below. In addition, they must also be recipients of any of the following benefits:

  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit Savings Credit
  • Child Benefit

You can apply for the ECO4 scheme online, usually on the website of an energy company like EDF Energy. You will then be matched with an installer who will survey your home and decide what package of measures is required.

0% VAT

The 0% VAT scheme is set to run until 2027, allowing homeowners to receive a discount on their solar panels. The extent of the savings will depend on the size of your system, but all are subject to a discount of 20% compared to a decade ago and 5% compared to before the 0% VAT on solar panels was put in place.

0% VAT savings
System size Savings (compared to 20% VAT)
3kW £1,300 to £1,500
4kW £1,850 to 2,000
5kW £2,300 to £2,500
6kW £2,500 to £2,900

The 0% VAT scheme automatically applies to solar panels, so there is no application process for it. It is a supply-side measure that benefits consumers as companies are able to lower their prices. 0% VAT also applies to solar batteries and can decrease solar battery prices by 20%, saving £1,500 to £4,100 on average.

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

The Smart Export Guarantee allows for solar panel owners to earn money by exporting surplus energy back to the grid. These rates will depend on the rates set by the energy provider that you have. Generally, SEG earnings average out at 5.5p/kWh but provide earnings as high as 20p/kWh or more (although, how the policies vary can affect your earnings in the end).

Even at a rate of 5.5p/kWh, it’s possible to earn £50 to £95 on top of your energy savings for the average home. Here is a table breaking down how much SEG earnings can add per house size.

Solar panel saving with Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)
House size Household electricity consumption Solar panel system size Annual savings without SEG Average annual savings with SEG
Small; 1-2 bedrooms 1,800kWh 3kW £430.75 £480
Medium; 2-3 bedrooms 2,700kWh 4kW £662.20 £700
Medium; 2-3 bedrooms 2,700kWh 5kW £660 £745
Large; 4-5 bedrooms 4,100kWh 6kW £1,005 £1,060

The table below shows some of the plans available in Scotland arranged by the potential earnings from SEG.

SEG export tariff rates in Scotland
Supplier Tariff name Rate per kWh (p/kWh)
Octopus Intelligent Octopus Flux 20.31p/kWh to 22.73p/kWh
Octopus Octopus Flux 21p/kWh (average)
OVO OVO SEG Tariff 20p/kWh
Good Energy Solar Savings Exclusive 20p/kWh
So Energy So Bright 20p/kWh
E.ON Next Export Exclusive 16.5p/kWh
Octopus Outgoing Fixed 15p/kWh
OVO OVO SEG Tariff 15p/kWh
ScottishPower SmartGen+ 15p/kWh
British Gas Export and Earn Plus 15p/kWh
Good Energy Solar Savings 15p/kWh
ScottishPower SmartGen 12p/kWh
Octopus Outgoing Fixed Lite 8p/kWh
British Gas Export & Earn Flex 6.4p/kWh
EDF Export Variable Value 5.6p/kWh
Utility Warehouse UW Smart Export Guarantee - Bundle 5.6p/kWh
So Energy So Export Flex 4.5p/kWh
Octopus SEG tariff 4.1p/kWh
OVO OVO SEG Tariff 4p/kWh
Good Energy Export Only 4p/kWh
Utilita Utilita Smart Export Guarantee 3p/kWh
EDF Export Variable 3p/kWh
E.ON Next Export 3p/kWh
Utility Warehouse UW Smart Export Guarantee - Standard 2p/kWh

To be eligible for SEG earnings you need:

  • An electricity provider that provides an export tariff.
  • A solar panel system installed or inspected by an MCS-certified (or equivalent) installer.
  • A connection to the grid.

Warmer Homes Scotland

The Warmer Homes Scotland programme is primarily targeted towards home heating but also offers a number of energy efficiency measures, including solar panels. These improvements can help homes lower their heating and energy bills. Through the grant, recipients can receive full or partial payment for home heating or solar panels.

The Warmer Homes grant is one of the active Scottish government solar panel grants but, since it depends on an assessment, it cannot guarantee solar panels. The grant can provide up to £10,000 in funding in both a grant and interest-free loan form for a variety of measures (not just solar panels).

There are numerous improvements on offer but the exact one you receive will be based on an inspection and survey of your home. After this, assessors will recommend improvements, these include heating and a range of insulation as well as renewable energy and heating technologies.

To be eligible for the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme, you must:

  • Be a homeowner or the tenant of a private-sector landlord.
  • Live in a home with a low energy rating.
  • Be a recipient of some passport benefits.

To apply for the grant, you have to contact Home Energy Scotland (the organisation) and they will assess your home to see if you are eligible. They will then refer you to WarmWorks or schedule an appointment for a WarmWorks assessor to check your home.

So, can you get a grant for solar panels in Scotland? That can be difficult to answer since so many of these grants require an assessment and rely on benefits or other individual criteria. That’s why it’s best to find a reliable installer who can assess your situation and advise you accordingly. Finding one you can trust can be difficult when searching on your own, so why not let us help out?

If you want to check prices and get an estimate without spending hours of your spare time on research, we can help with that. Click the button below to receive up to 4 free, non-binding quotes from installers in your area.

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Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund

The public sector decarbonisation scheme can be handy for public sector companies and is available in select areas as of February 2024. The purpose of the plan is to cut emissions from public sector buildings by 75% by 2037.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and the Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund supply technologies like renewables and solar panels to institutions. This comes in the form of funding which can be useful for obtaining commercial solar panels. Out of the solar panel grants in Scotland, these ones are more geared towards businesses and organisations than towards residential solar panel installations.

The public sector fund provides funding in areas of reserved public services across the UK, including Scotland. However, the level of funding is dependent on local municipalities and may be subject to regional availability, which is why it’s best to ask your local authority or an installer.

The scheme is headed by Salix Finance, with funding geared towards public sector bodies and not domestic solar installations. The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) have confirmed that the 4th phase of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) is being launched.

Are solar panels worth it in Scotland?

are solar panels worth it in Scotland

Yes, solar panels can be a worthwhile investment in Scotland as they allow for annual energy savings in the realm of £440 to £1,005. While the initial costs can seem high, schemes like ECO4 can allow for free solar panels, while the Smart Export Guarantee allow for the potential to earn back money by exporting energy to the grid.

Solar panels have also declined in price for the past few years, so there is no better time to buy them than now. With the aid of initiatives like the 0% VAT scheme, this price is lower than ever. The average Scottish home can break even in 9 to 8 years, with a return on investment between £5,500 - £6,500 and £10,500 - £11,500.

That said, there are situations where you may not be able to make the most of your solar panel system. Your roof may not be suitable or you may live in a low sunshine area like the far north of Scotland. While solar panels largely work in the majority of Scotland, there are some outliers.

So, are solar panels worth it for you? That can be hard to tell without a proper evaluation. Since each home is different, you will need to evaluate your situation on an individual basis.

If you want to learn more about whether your home is ideal for solar power, it’s best to contact a reliable installer. That said, you will need a trustworthy one that can advise you adequately on getting the best solar panels for your home. Finding one can be a tough task, requiring days of research, price comparisons, and calling up companies. Luckily, our service can be a far more convenient and speedy alternative.

All you need to do is fill out a quick, 30-second form and we’ll provide you with up to 4 free, non-binding quotes. Click the button below to receive offers from trusted installers we’ve personally vetted.

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