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Can You Get a Grant for Solar Panels in Scotland?

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: May 09, 2024
7 minutes read
  • Scotland sees up to 120% of average sunshine levels between 1991 and 2020
  • Solar panels in Scotland produce over 411 megawatts of power
  • Details of solar panel grants in Scotland

The UK has varying levels of sunshine, and some areas are better suited for photovoltaics than others. According to MCS, there have been more than 160,000 solar panel installations in Scotland between 2009 and 2024. Both businesses and residential areas have them, but do solar panels and Scotland make the perfect match? What about solar panels and Wales?

By local authority, Aberdeenshire has the most amount of households with solar panels fitted, at 5.95% – the third highest percentage across the UK. This is followed by East Lothian at 4.77% and Scottish Borders at 4.26%. On the lower end of the scale, Glasgow City only has 0.69% of households with solar arrays, and the Orkney Islands 0.77%. But don’t let Glasgow City’s MCS data put you off. Solar panels in Scotland work very well, as this article will explain.

This article will go through how effective solar panels in Scotland are, how much they cost and whether there are any grants available. It will also look at how many solar installations have been undertaken throughout the UK. If you qualify for a grant or a scheme in Scotland, you may be able to receive solar panels for free.

Interested in getting photovoltaics already? Use our quote comparison tool to see how much you'd pay for solar panels in Scotland in 2024.

New build properties with solar panels on their roof against a backdrop of Scottish hills

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How Effective Are Solar Panels in Scotland?

Government Data

When looking at Scottish Government data, the facts for solar panels in Scotland point towards a larger trend of reducing its carbon footprint. In 2023, the country reached a new height of 600 megawatts of solar power. At the end of December last year, 517 new renewable projects were in the pipeline, with a capacity of 25.9GW. By the end of 2023, Scotland had 15.3GW of renewable electricity capacity, which was up 10% from 2022.

Is Scotland a Renewable Energy Powerhouse?

Solar and Wind Power Isometric

Yes. As the previous data shows, Scotland is exploring multiple ways of meeting its renewable electricity generation goals, from onshore and offshore wind to large scale hydro projects and solar energy.

By 2030, the country is hoping to increase domestic production of renewable energy by pursuing the following avenues:

  • Offshore wind

  • Onshore wind

  • Wave and tidal power

  • More solar panels in Scotland

  • Hydro

  • Bioenergy

  • Hydrogen

Hours of Sun

Because of its latitude, some parts of Scotland see considerably more daylight than other areas of the UK. If we take the percentage of average sunshine duration between 1991 and 2020, some parts of the Scottish Highlands receive up to 120% of this base level of sunshine. In comparison, areas on the south coast of England see less than 80%.

The sunniest place in Scotland is Dundee in Angus. Dundee averages over 1,523 hours of sunshine a year, outperforming other UK national averages, including any city in Northern Ireland. Are solar panels useful in Northern Ireland? Of course they are. You can still generate electricity from them, even on overcast days.

With an ideal climate, solar panels and Scotland work incredibly well together. Compared to the rest of the UK, Scotland has 161,682 solar PV systems to date. England has 1,207,482 and Wales has 95,728. Northern Ireland, on the other hand, only has 29,086 solar systems in total.

How Much Does it Cost to Install Solar Panels in Scotland?

The price of your solar array will differ depending on how many panels you’re installing. You can expect the average cost to be between £7,500 and £9,000 for a 3.5kW system. If we look at MCS data, the average cost of solar panels in 2022 was £6,823, but they have increased in price.

Installing solar panels in Scotland in 2023 set you back £8,579 on average. Bear in mind that solar systems are designed to last for at least 25 years or longer. This works out at less than £30 a month.

You can see what average prices were last year in the graph below.

What Affects the Cost of Solar Panels?

Solar panels within Scotland will be affected by what you want out of your system. The system size, power, installation and whether you want a solar battery will all contribute to cost. If you want to make use of any generated electricity, a solar battery will be more useful.

You can compare rough costs for photovoltaic panels and an accompanying battery in the interactive graph below. If you make use of the Home Energy Scotland grant and optional loan, you can save yourself up to £6,000.

Exporting Energy from Solar Panels in Scotland

Solar Installation

Are solar panels still a good idea in the UK? Of course they are. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can make money from exports as well as reduce bills.

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is the modern day equivalent of the Feed-in Tariff. Your SEG supplier doesn’t have to be your current energy supplier. Energy companies over a certain size are obligated to offer a solar power export rate over £0. By having solar panels in Scotland, you can earn money for supplying the national grid with your renewable electricity.

If you don’t have a solar battery, you might make a little money through exports. Energy suppliers haven’t made SEG rates competitive enough to use it as a huge money maker as it’s only a legal obligation.

Most suppliers only offer a meagre 2–5p/kWh, which is a fraction of the cost of buying electricity. However, anyone with solar panels in Scotland can make use of the highest rate in the UK, which is currently offered by Octopus Energy at 15p/kWh. They also offer a special Flux rate, which was previously reported to be as high as 36.5p/kWh. This is only available for their customers though. ScottishPower offers 12p/kWh for everyone.

Are There Solar Panel Grants in Scotland?

There are a few ways you might be able to get financial help with solar panels within Scotland. The Scottish Government can offer targeted support for a package of measures to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

You may be able to receive solar panels in Scotland with the following schemes or grants:

  • Home Energy Scotland

  • ECO4

  • No VAT

Home Energy Scotland

Modern Eco Home

Scottish people can apply for grants for energy efficient improvements to their homes through the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme or through Home Energy Scotland. In terms of solar panels in Scotland, this comes in the form of a £1,250 grant and an optional £4,750 interest-free loan. The total amount depends on which improvements you want to make.

Home Energy Scotland offers free advice as well as grants and optional interest-free loans for energy improvements, such as free solar panels in Scotland, for anyone who is eligible. These include solar PV panels, boilers, central heating and heat pumps. The idea is to help people make efficient improvements to their homes in order to lower their household bills and eliminate energy poverty.

You may be able to receive solar panels within Scotland even if your financial situation isn’t particularly robust. Any household on benefits will not have the funds available to improve their home to benefit from PV systems, so Home Energy Scotland is designed to remove the stress involved with the financials. Generating your own electricity for your home is just one way in which you can lower your electricity bills.


You may be able to receive free energy upgrades in Scotland if:

  • You own your home and live in it

  • You’re building your own home

To find out if you qualify for free solar panels in Scotland, call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 or check their website for eligibility.

What Isn’t Covered?

There are some measures you can’t get funding for. These include:

  • Replacement heat pumps

  • Wind or hydro turbines

  • Solar water heating systems

  • Double or triple glazing

Solar Water Heating Systems

While not used for electricity, solar thermal panels transfer heat to your heating or hot water cylinder. Despite the fact that you can’t get funding for them like you can with solar panels in Scotland, they’re still incredibly useful.

Can solar water panels heat a house in the winter? They can, but not entirely as they aren’t as efficient. As they harvest heat from the Sun throughout the year, there’s a lot less available in the colder months. A solar thermal system can generate 20–30% of your hot water needs in the winter, but they need to be supplemented with an immersion heater or boiler.


The ECO4 scheme is a UK-wide initiative that is the latest (and final) phase in a scheme that has been operating since 2013. ECO4 has been running since April 2022 and gives you the opportunity to apply for solar panels in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Much like Home Energy Scotland, ECO4 is designed to help install energy saving measures, including insulation and double glazing. This also includes solar panels.

ECO4 is set to run until 31st March 2026. Together with the Great British Insulation Scheme (formerly ECO+), funding has been set aside for hundreds of thousands of households across the UK to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Solar Panels on Flat Roof


You might qualify for solar panels in Scotland through ECO4 if the following applies:

  • Your home has an EPC rating of E–G

  • Your home is off the gas grid

  • You receive a means-tested benefit

Eligibility is slightly relaxed under the Local Authority Flex and Delivery Scheme (LADS). If you do not meet the criteria for benefits, your local authority can approve your application instead. This is only reserved for those in fuel poverty or on a low income.

You can apply for the ECO4 scheme through your energy supplier. Information about solar panel installations and installing solar panels in Scotland through ECO4 can be found on ScottishPower's website.


While not a grant, there is a discount available when buying a solar panel system. Since April 2022, VAT has been scrapped on renewable systems. This may not sound particularly exciting, but dropping VAT from 5% to 0% has the potential to lower the cost of installation by £1,000. If you don’t qualify for Home Energy Scotland or ECO4, this might make installing solar panels in Scotland more affordable.

The reduction in VAT is valid until 2027, so there’s time to make use of this benefit. It also applies to other energy efficient systems, like heat pumps. If the government changes this to increase uptake in line with net zero targets, this will be announced at a later date.

Is the UK Government Giving Up on Energy Efficiency?

It would seem as though central government has certainly watered down energy efficient measures in the last few years. Whether they’ve given up entirely on energy efficiency is open for debate.

However, by dissolving an insulating and energy efficient taskforce in 2023 and limiting the funding available through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, it would seem as though the statement has some merit.

Solar Panels in Scotland: The Verdict

Considering that the country gets more sunlight than other parts of the UK and that there are ways of receiving solar panels in Scotland for free, or at a discounted rate through various grants, where’s the downside? The Scottish Government is keen to increase its stock of renewables, from wind and tidal to everything in between. In 2023, it was reported that Scotland has an estimated peak renewable electricity capacity of 67.98GW.

In terms of residential solar panels in Scotland, these can reduce your reliance on the grid, which is still largely powered by fossil fuels. As the government is determined to achieve 50% renewable generation by 2030, you can help as an individual by covering your home’s needs and exporting any surplus back.

Local installers can help you find the best deal for you. They will make sure any qualifying discounts are automatically applied. Use the button below to fill in your details and get a local quote for solar panels in Scotland.

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