Can I Put Solar Panels on My Garden Room?
Are you worried about the rising cost of your energy bills like the rest of the country?
To be honest, we can see why…
Energy costs have been on the rise for a while now, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
In the UK, the average household spends almost £1,500 on energy every year - what if we told you, there was a way to slash that number in half, or even more?
Solar panels can be fitted onto garden rooms, sheds, and other small buildings as long as the fittings are of a suitable size/type and the roof gets enough sun exposure.
They are an excellent way of reducing your reliance on the grid and saving money on your energy bills.
Is A Garden Room Roof Suitable For Solar Panels?
Most garden room roofs are either flat or pitched at a shallower angle than a standard roof but oftentimes are not strong enough to carry the weight of a solar array. However, solar panels can either be fitted on a garage roof or ground mounted and the power is fed back to the house or garden room.
The angle of the solar array does impact the amount of electricity that your solar panels will generate, though. If your garage or ground-mounted solar has a south-facing roof, it will generate a lot more energy than a north-facing one.
This is down to the fact that the sun is lower in the sky in the winter months and therefore, a south-facing roof will catch more of the sun's rays.
The angle of your roof also affects how much shade your solar panels will get. If your garage has a pitched roof, there is a chance that the panels could be shaded by trees or other buildings. This will reduce the amount of electricity that they generate.
You can get around this problem by using solar panel mounts to adjust the angle of your panels.
This will ensure that the vast majority of the time, they are exposed to direct sunlight.
Note: Before you look to install solar panels on any structure, ensure that the roof structure is strong enough to take the weight.
How Much Sunlight Does My Garden Room Need?
Solar panels need direct sunlight to generate electricity, so it's important to make sure that your garden room gets enough sun exposure for that to happen.
Ideally, you should aim for at least four hours of direct sunlight per day. This won't generate as much energy as the panels on your house roof, but it will still make a significant difference to your energy bills.
If you're not sure how much sun your garden room gets, you can use a solar calculator to work it out - this will give you an estimate of how much electricity your panels will generate.
To get the most accurate results, you should input the following information:
The location of your garden room.
The angle and orientation of your roof.
The type of solar panels you'll be using.
How Big Do My Solar Panels Need to Be?
This is a great question, but can only be answered with, "it depends”...
Unlike the solar panels on your house, the panels on your garden room won't be expected to contribute as significant an amount of energy to the overall output of your solar panels.
The size of your solar panel system will be determined by a number of factors, including:
How much sun your garden room gets.
How much electricity you want to generate.
Again, the type of solar panels you'll be using.
How much money you're willing to spend.
The average domestic capacity is between 1 kilowatt (kW) and 4 kW, however, as we mentioned earlier; the panels on your garden roof will basically add a small contribution to the overall output of solar panels combined.
The Best Type Of Solar Panels For Garden Rooms
Similar to the solar panels on your house roof, your garden room would use a solar PV system made up of either monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells.
Monocrystalline solar panels tend to be more efficient than polycrystalline cells, but, unfortunately, that also comes at a price because they are more expensive to produce.
Polycrystalline cells are cheaper to manufacture, but they are not as efficient as their monocrystalline cousins.
They still make a great choice for garden rooms as they will generate enough electricity to offset your energy usage and save you money on your bills.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar on Garden Rooms
Lowers Your Carbon Footprint
The more solar panels and solar arrays you install on your house or garden room, the lower your carbon footprint will be.
Solar panels don't generate any emissions, meaning they are a great way to reduce your environmental impact.
Saves You Money On Your Energy Bills
This will likely be high on your list of reasons for wanting to install solar panels.
Solar panels will generate electricity that you can use to power your garden room, and this will save you money on your energy bills overall.
Adds Value To Your Property
Simply erecting a garden room should increase the value of your home. Couple this with solar panels, and you could see a significant increase in the value of your property.
Even though we have added maintenance as a disadvantage, the good news is the maintenance is still minimal.
If you have a window cleaner who uses pure water on your windows, asking them to go over the panels on your garden room every 6 to 12 months should suffice.
The water they use is free of impurities, so it won't damage the cells on your panels.
You should also check the panels for any debris, such as leaves or bird droppings, and remove them - if necessary.
They also need to be checked regularly for faults, and any damaged panels will need to be replaced.
The biggest disadvantage of solar panels is the upfront cost. Solar PV systems are not cheap, but the good news is that they will pay for themselves over time.
The cost of solar panels has been dropping over the years, so now is a great time to invest in a solar PV system.
How Much Do Solar Panels For Garden Rooms Cost?
It might surprise you to know that the installation costs are the same for solar panels on garden rooms as they are for houses.
This is because the process of installing solar panels is the same regardless of the size or type of building.
A 3KW or 4KW system would cost approximately £5-£6,000 to install on the roof of your house.
This means, depending on the size array you go for on your garden room roof, you'll be looking at roughly half the solar panel cost. However, the installation cost will likely remain the same.
If this is something that you're interested in, we recommend obtaining quotes from at least 3 different solar panel installers to allow you to compare pricing and find the best deal for you.
Do I need planning permission for solar panels on my garden room?
This really depends on the size, type, and location of the solar panel you want to install. The best way to find out is to contact your local planning authority and ask them about their specific requirements.
Won’t solar panels be too heavy for my garden room?
The structure of your garden room is designed to withstand a certain amount of weight, and solar panels are not particularly heavy in relative terms. However, it's always best to check with the manufacturer of your garden room to make sure that it can support the weight of the solar panels you want to install. It’s not just the weight of the panels that need consideration. Solar panels act both as a static load on the roof, but also a dynamic load, meaning the force of the wind under the panels will need to be taken into consideration when thinking about whether the roof structure is suitable for solar panels.
Do I need to orientate my solar panels towards the sun?
Yes, solar panels need to be installed in a way that they will get the maximum exposure to sunlight possible. This means orientating them towards the south in the northern hemisphere, and towards the north in the southern hemisphere.