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Who Qualifies For Free Solar Panels in the UK?

Solar panels in the UK vary considerably in cost depending on their size, energy demand and your location. But thanks to government incentives, your panels may pay for themselves much faster than you might expect!

Local governments may offer ECO4 funding that covers up to 87% of upfront solar panel costs, making solar more accessible than ever. See if you qualify!

solar panels


Energy bills have long been a source of worry among homeowners, prompting many to explore ways of cutting energy expenses. Solar panels are one of the more cost-effective options, although initial investment might be more significant; luckily there are several schemes to make solar more accessible and affordable.

ECO4, which replaces ECO3, will run until March 2026 and provides financial incentives to assist households on low incomes in investing in energy-saving improvements such as solar panels. Local authorities set their own eligibility criteria based on factors like income and housing circumstances for this program to operate successfully.

If you meet the qualifications, one of the energy suppliers that must offer ECO4 improvements as part of their compliance with Energy Company Obligation can install free solar panels for you. Simply answer a few simple questions online before booking an appointment with a technical surveyor who will assess your home and determine what changes would be most suitable.

Additionally, you could qualify for other renewable energy funding, including Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which compensates you for any excess solar electricity you export back into the grid – this helps offset costs associated with installing solar panels while simultaneously cutting your energy bills.

There are also numerous schemes designed to assist with purchasing energy-generating equipment for yourself, such as 0% VAT rates which make installing solar energy much more affordable. Our quick form can help you determine your eligibility for various funding sources and then get up to three competitive quotes from installers near you.


The UK government does not give out free solar panels, but offers some financial assistance programs and incentives that may make solar power easier to access for those unable to cover upfront installation costs of renewable power systems.

First and foremost, all new domestic solar PV systems qualify for zero VAT until March 2027 – making a substantial impactful difference on overall costs of installation. If purchasing panels, inverters, or batteries separately though you will still need to pay 20% VAT when buying these items separately.

Apply for the Energy Company Obligation scheme, more commonly referred to as ECO4. This initiative currently in its fourth instalment will run until March 2022, and requires larger energy suppliers to support income-restricted households by installing energy efficiency measures like solar panels at no cost – its primary target being homes occupied by their owner but individuals receiving Department for Work and Pensions benefits can also apply for participation in this program.

ECO4 differs significantly from its predecessor, ECO3, in its eligibility criteria. For instance, it welcomes those on Universal Credit and other welfare benefits as well as people living in social housing who can purchase solar energy at significantly discounted rates from suppliers compared to standard electricity tariffs.

Prioritized under ECO4, repairs to boilers and implementation of greener heating solutions like heat pumps and biomass boilers that may not suit every household are the focus. Therefore, more households may qualify than ever for this scheme.