Can solar panels power a house in the UK?


Can solar panels power a house in the UK?



February 2024 update: Solar panels, battery storage and a smart tariff can power your home potentially leading to negative electricity bills.

Find out which electricity tariff when combined with solar panels is best for you

Solar panels can generate enough energy to power a home. Depending on the space available, a solar panel installation could provide enough power over the year equivalent to running your home, your electric vehicle and a heat pump.

Of course, solar panels will not generate the energy required to power a home all of the time - this is where battery storage and a smart tariff are able to cover the shortfall - allowing exports to pay for imports.

If you get paid 8p/kWh for exporting and it costs 8p/kWh to charge the batteries at off-peak rates - the only question becomes - how much electricity can my home generate? If you can generate more than 100% of what you use, it's likely your bill will be £0*


*excluding standing charge, bills can go negative


An average home in the UK uses 3638 kWh of electricity per year. A detached house will use 4153 kWh per year, according to the Energy Savings Trust.

Add an electric car and a heat pump and you could easily add 7000+ kWh per year on top of your electricity consumption.


Can solar panels be used to power a house?

Can solar panels power a house in the UK thumbnail

Let’s take a real-world example from one of our customers in Dartmoor.

Was this customer able to power their home using solar?

Their energy consumption is 4375 KwH per year. They are able to generate 5294 kWh - 21% more electricity than they need. 

Can they use the energy when they need it? 

They have also installed 10.4 kWh of battery capacity, which means they can store excess electricity during the day for use throughout the night.

Exports will pay for imports - this customer's electricity bill will be negative because he will be paid more for exports than he will pay for imports over the year.


This customer is unlikely to use electricity from the grid for day to day usage from March until mid-October.

As you can see from the graph above, solar panels do produce less during the winter months and peak during the summer.

You are paid a ‘Smart Export Guarantee’ from your supplier for every unit of electricity you export to the grid. If you can export enough during the summer months - this could pay for the shortfall in the winter.

Solar panels really can power your home, even during the winter if you can export enough energy in the summer to pay for the winter shortfall.


How much of my electricity usage could be covered by solar panels?

If you do not have a smart tariff, you may want to understand how much energy appliances use so you can stagger the usage so that you are not using more at any one time than your solar panels and battery can provide.


If you have a smart tariff - it may not matter - all imports might be being paid for by exporting at other times of the year.


Household ItemEnergy ratingTypical usageEnergy used in kWhCost (April 2022 Price Cap)
Kettle (Russel Hobbs)3000W1 minute0.05 kWh1.5p
Nepresso Coffee Machine1710W90 seconds (per cup)0.043 kWh1.3p
Blender400W5 minutes0.033 kWh1p
Toaster (2 slice)900W5 minutes0.075 kWh2.2p
Toaster (4 slice)2000W5 minutes0.17 kWh5.1p
Fridge freezer150W8 hours
(33% duty cycle)
1.2 kWh36.2p per day
American Fridge Freezer250W8 hours
(33% duty cycle)
2 kWh60.4p per day
Freezer100W8 hours
(33% duty cycle)
0.8 kWh24.1p per day
Fridge100W8 hours
(33% duty cycle)
0.8 kWh24.1p per day
Laptop50W8 hours0.4 kWh12p
Charge an iPhone for one yearUp to 5WEveryday1.8 kWh54.3p per year
Just over 1p a week!
55" Samsung TV110W3 hours0.33 kWh10p
75" Samsung TV154W3 hours0.46 kWh13.9p
Single electric oven3000W1 hour3 kWh90.6p per hour
Patio Heater2000W1 hour2 kWh60.4p per hour
Microwave1500W3 minutes0.075 kWh2.2p
Iron3000W20 minutes1 kWh30.2p
Dishwasher2200W2 hours4.4 kWh£1.33 (per day?)
Washing Machine2200W1 hour2.2 kWh66p
Tumble dryer (modern)800W45 minutes0.6 kWh18.1p
10 x Lightbulbs - incandescent
700 lumens x 8 hours a day
600W8 hours4.8 kWh£1.45 per day
10 x Lightbulbs - LED
700 lumens x 8 hours a day
100W8 hours0.8 kWh24.1p per day
Desktop computerUp to 300W8 hours2.4 kWh72.5p
Hot tubUp to 6000W1 hour6 kWh£1.81

Household energy usage solar.jpg

Can solar panels power a house in the UK?

Before starting Leoht in 2020, I designed and installed solar panels on my parent's home with enough battery capacity to make the most of their generation and usage. The long term aim is to reduce their living costs to as close to £0 as possible.

I took a video of their smart meter when visiting in April 2022.

(Note this was taken in April, months before solar panels generate their maximum in the summer).

Smart meter 15th can solar panels power a house
Smart meter 19th can solar panels power a house
Smart meter 16th can solar panels power a house
Smart meter 20th can solar panels power a house
Smart meter 17th can solar panels power a house
Smart meter 21st can solar panels power a house
Smart meter 18th can solar panels power a house
Smart meter 22nd can solar panels power a house

My mum is quite keen on using as much solar and battery as possible and staggers household energy usage to maximise the use of their own energy. However, even I was surprised that even in the middle of April, they barely used the grid! and on one of those days - I was charging Leoht's Tesla.

How many solar panels do I need? Try our calculator and find out in 30 seconds.