Octopus and Santander solar & battery FAQs

If you’re nearly ready to take charge of your energy supply by getting solar panels installed at home, but need a hand deciding if it’s the right time for you - then look no further. At Octopus, renewable energy is our bread and butter.

We’ve asked our experts to answer your most frequently asked questions, to help you decide if it’s time to join the race to net-zero, and begin generating your own clean, green solar power at home.

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What to expect from your solar installation

The big day has arrived, but what does it involve? We talk you through the process step by step.

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Frequently asked questions

Special offers from Octopus and Santander

How do I access the special offers from Octopus and Santander?

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Santander mortgage and personal current account customers who get their solar panels installed through Octopus will receive a £500 discount off their purchase price. Offer can be withdrawn at any time.

You could also get up to £500 home energy cashback from Santander if you borrow money from Santander to make energy-efficient home improvements using their trusted suppliers, including Octopus Energy. Offer available to Santander mortgage and personal current account customers only. £250 home energy cashback if you borrow between £5,000 and £9,999. £500 home energy cashback if you borrow £10,000 or more. Terms and conditions apply. Any money borrowed on your mortgage will be secured against your home. All loan applications are subject to status. If you would like to find out more about the home energy cashback Santander has available and the options to borrow the money you need for improvements, please visit https://www.santander.co.uk/personal/support/greener-living/greener-homes/green-improvements. Cashback offer can be withdrawn at any time.

How will I get my £500 discount from Octopus?

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If you’re happy with the initial quote, we will take a fully refundable £500 deposit, arrange a survey and review of your property before giving you a date for your installation. If Santander confirms you’re an eligible customer, the £500 discount is then taken off your final sales agreement price with Octopus.

Installation costs

What's the average cost?

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The cost of installation can depend on how many panels you need, whether you choose to have battery storage and what size of battery you require. The cost of a panel-only installation by Octopus starts from £3,880 (for 2 panels). A 10 panel installation and a 5kWh battery (our most popular system) costs £9,199. Get a quick fixed quote to find out how much it’ll cost for you, based on your home.

How long will it take for the panels to pay for themselves?

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Our systems typically pay for themselves in 9 - 12 years.

We compared the typical installation cost and annual bill savings for our most common solar system (10 panels, 5kWh) in 5 different scenarios. The payback period varied from 9 - 12 years depending on the energy tariff.

Of course, each home is unique and this can be influenced by lots of different factors.

We’ll calculate a personalised payback period following our design consultation, to let you know what you might save for your home.

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Generating and exporting energy

How do I get paid to export energy?

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Before installation, we’ll ask which tariff you’d like to join. We’ll also need to get permission from your distribution network operator before you can begin exporting your energy. When sorted, they’ll supply you with a unique ‘export MPAN’ number which will mean you’re good to go.

To monitor your energy usage and generation, you’ll be set up on the app, and you’ll also be able to see this information from your Octopus Energy account. If you decide to join an Octopus tariff, export payments will be paid directly into your Octopus account.

What is the best Octopus Energy tariff for solar?

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We have several industry-leading solar tariffs, tailored to maximise your savings and export earnings.
There’s options for if you prefer to set it and forget it, or adapt how you use energy to save every day. We also have dedicated tariffs for if you have other low-carbon tech at home, like an electric car ☀️🚗.


The tariffs

  • Intelligent Octopus Flux: We pair with your battery to optimise charging and discharging, and you don't need to lift a finger. Currently boasting the UK's best export rates.
  • Octopus Flux: Take control with super cheap rates between 2am-5am every day to top up your battery, plus a peak rate from 4pm-9pm when you can discharge it.
  • Outgoing Octopus: Agile & Fixed options for if you’d prefer to pair your export tariff with a different import tariff. Find out more about which tariffs work together here.
  • Octopus SEG: If you’d prefer to go with another supplier for your import energy, you can still join our standard Smart Export Guarantee tariff.

Still sure which tariff is right for you? Take our quiz to find out the most popular tariffs for homes like yours, and check out all the tariffs in detail.

How easy is it to control and manage my solar usage?

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Following installation, we’ll ask that you install the Enphase app if you have an Enphase inverter, or the GivEnergy app if you have a GivEnergy inverter to control and manage your solar usage. You can also do this from an online desktop dashboard.

With the mobile app, you’ll be able to monitor and manage your usage anytime, anywhere. It’s really simple to use, and simple to control when you need to. If you have any further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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The installation process

What’s the process to get solar installed?

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Fill out our quick online form.

We’ll send over a personalised quote within 1 working day, with a price that covers everything you’ll need for a standard solar and battery installation. We'll then take a £500 advance payment (fully refundable until the day before scaffolding installation).

Next our Solar Design Specialists will work with you to design the ideal system for your home, using state-of-the-art software to visualise the path of the sun and where to best position your solar panels. You’ll have the option to change the design to fit your budget, and remove the battery if you choose to.

We’ll ask you to fill out a remote survey form to ensure your solar design is spot-on before installation. If you’re not able to complete the remote survey, we will arrange a date for a surveyor to visit your property.

Finally we’ll find a suitable date for your installation. Installation should take 2-4 days, depending on the size of your system. We will also schedule time on either side of this to put up and take down the scaffolding at your property. Once installation is complete, we’ll request the remainder of the total cost.

We’ll be here to answer any questions or concerns that you have throughout the process, and our aftercare team will be available by phone 7 days a week once your installation is complete.

How long does it take to install and do I have to be there?

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Standard installs can be completed within 2 days, and bigger installs can take between 3-4 days. If you need to be elsewhere, no problem - we just ask that you’re in the property whilst we do the wiring, which will take a few hours on one day.

Where are Octopus currently installing?

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We're currently installing across most of England, but we're working to extend our tentacles across the rest of the UK as quickly as possible.

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Installation requirements and considerations

Are solar panels right for my home?

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Before going ahead with your installation, we'll need to make sure of a few things first. Firstly you will need a clear space on a pitched (not flat) roof that can fit at least 2 solar panels. See our FAQ on how much space you'll need for more info.

It's important that this part of your roof sees the sun throughout the day, so a north facing roof may be unsuitable. We'll also need to be able to install scaffolding below this part of the building in order to complete the installation.

Next, you'll need to decide if solar panels make money-sense. The higher your energy usage at home, the more beneficial solar panels and a battery will be (you'll be saving the money you would have otherwise spent on bills, and this will go towards paying back the cost of your solar system). If you have a low usage, it's worth keeping in mind that your payback period will be longer, but this is something we can discuss in your consultation.

Finally, it's worth keeping in mind that we can't install on properties with a 3 phase electricity meter just yet, but we are working hard on a solution.

Does it matter which direction my roof is facing?

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In the UK, south facing solar panels will generate the most energy as they spend the maximum time facing the sun, whereas north facing panels are not generally not recommended because they’ll see little direct sunlight. The Energy Savings Trust estimates that panels facing east or west will yield around 15-20% less energy than one facing directly south. However if you have both an eastern and western facing roof, you have the option to have panels on each side, to follow the sun’s path throughout the day.

It’s also important to avoid shady spots on your roof to generate the maximum amount of energy.

How much space do I need?

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On your roof, the number of panels we recommend will depend on the amount of space you have and how much energy you use.

Our panels are 1.7m length 1.1m wide each, and we'll need space for a 40cm gap between the edge of the roof and the solar system. The average number of panels is around 10-12 (4.5kW) and the minimum number we can fit is 2.

In general, the more panels on the roof, the more electricity you will generate, so we’d only recommend a large array if your usage is high. We’ll discuss all of these options with you.

We now install microinverters as standard, which don’t require space inside your home inside your home. However if we are installing a GivEnergy system, you will need space for an inverter measuring: (HxDxW) 440 x 260 x 480 (mm).

If you choose to also have a battery, these come in several sizes:

Enphase

5kWh dimensions: (HxDxW) 980 x 188 x 550 (mm)

10kWh will be 2 of the batteries specified above, and will require a space of 150mm between each battery.

GivEnergy

5.2kWh dimensions: (HxDxW) 515 x 220 x 480 (mm)

9.5kWh dimensions: (HxDxW) 800 x 223 x 480 (mm)

Does it matter what type of roof I have?

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A roof where water is able to run off the solar panels will be suitable, but a pitched roof is best, as it can provide the best angle for a solar panel to face the sun, without having to use a stand. Unfortunately we’re not able to install solar panels on flat roofs, thatched roofs or slate roofs just now.

Can I get solar panels if I'm renting?

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Unfortunately you need to be the property owner to have Solar panels installed on your roof. Additionally, if you own a top floor flat you may need to get the freeholders permission to have solar installed on the roof.

Where will the hardware be installed in my house?

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Your consumer unit is small and will be placed next to your existing consumer unit/fuse box. The battery (if you choose to have one) can go inside or outside your home.

The physical size of the battery will depend on how powerful it is, but to give you an idea, the smallest battery is around the size of plane carry-on luggage and the larger battery is the size of a check-in bag. If we need to install a GivEnergy inverter, this is about the same size as the smallest battery.

Does the equipment make any noise?

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The solar panels themselves don’t make any noise, however during the day whilst the panels are generating, your inverter may hum quietly at a maximum of 45 decibels (the sound level of a quiet library).

Do I need planning permission?

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The only time you will need planning permission to install Solar Panels is when the property is listed or in a conservation area. In cases where your system will require a 5kWh inverter (usually around 12 panels or more), we’ll need to get in touch with your distribution network operator (DNO) to ask for permission. This process usually takes a couple of weeks but we will sort everything for you.

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Solar power and how it works

How does home solar power work?

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  1. A solar panel’s photovoltaic (PV) cells convert the particles in sunlight into a direct electrical current (DC). This current travels down through the cables, into your home.
  2. The inverter converts this direct current (DC) into an alternating current (AC). This electricity can then be used straight away to power lights & sockets around the home.
  3. Once the house has all the power it needs, excess energy can be stored in the battery for use when the sun isn’t shining. If you don’t have a battery, this electricity travels directly to the smart meter.
  4. From the electricity meter, any energy that hasn’t been used or stored can be sent back to the grid. Here the smart meter will record how much energy has been exported so that you can be paid for it later.
  5. All of the clean, green energy you generated but didn’t use is distributed to other homes in the area.

    Find out how this works on a bigger scale here.

Do they work when it’s cloudy?

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Yes - even when it's cloudy and grey, snowing or raining, the panels will still generate electricity if it’s light outside, although less will be generated than in bright sunshine. The only time the panels won’t generate is at nighttime, because the sun isn’t shining.

What other devices will be installed with my solar panels?

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Together with your solar panels, we’ll install:

  • A small consumer unit (also known as a fuse box),
  • An export meter, to measure how much energy your panels generate, and how much of that is exported to the grid.
  • An inverter, to convert the electricity into an alternating current, which can be used to power your home.
  • (Optional) A battery, to store any excess electricity that’s generated.

What brand of PV panels and battery do Octopus install?

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Our expert team is committed to choosing the best quality products for our customers, to ensure that you get the best efficiency, and ultimately make the best savings with your solar installation.

Our solar packages are installed with state-of-the-art 435W PV solar panels from JA Solar, and the IQ8 Microinverter from Enphase as standard. Find out more about panels and inverters here.

For all battery installations, we will offer the industry-leading Enphase IQ Battery as standard. However this is subject to DNO approval, and if we find that this product isn’t suitable for your home, we will offer a suitable alternative for both your battery and inverter, without ever compromising on quality.

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Battery storage

What is battery storage?

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A battery will allow you to store any electricity you don't use, so that instead of exporting the energy back to the grid, you can use it later when the sun isn't shining. The initial cost for a battery is higher than solar panels alone, but it's a great idea if you wish to be self-sufficient and avoid spending money on pricey electricity from the grid in the long-run. You can also guarantee that the majority of the electricity you're using is 100% clean, green and home-generated.

Should I get battery storage installed too?

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This depends on both how much electricity you generate and when you use it most. For example, if you tend to use a lot of energy in the evening, we’ll probably recommend a battery. This is because you won’t be there to use the energy when the sun is brightest during the day; instead you can store the electricity in the battery for use in the evening. Our lives are varied, so there are many more circumstances that might impact this decision - but this is something that our solar advisors will be able to help you with.

If I get a bigger battery, will I make higher savings?

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A larger home battery may not always result in higher savings. This is because there’s a chance that additional capacity might exceed daily energy needs, leading to unused stored energy and reduced efficiency. Additionally, the cost of a larger battery may outweigh the savings gained from storing excess energy. Therefore, matching battery size to specific energy requirements is important for maximising savings.

I already have solar panels, will Octopus install a battery to work with them?

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As we're just getting started, we're only installing complete solar systems for now (solar panels alone or with a battery). This means that if you have solar panels fitted by another provider, unfortunately we're not able to install a battery to work with them just yet.

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Maintenance and warranty

Does the solar system come with a warranty?

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All of our equipment comes with a manufacturer warranty:

  • Solar Panels: 25 years product warranty and 30 years linear power warranty.
  • Inverters: Enphase Microinverters come with a product warranty of 25 years, whilst the GivEnergy inverter is covered by a 12 year product warranty.
  • Batteries: 12 years for GivEnergy products and 15 years for Enphase products.

Our customers are also protected by a 2 year Workmanship Warranty Insurance scheme.

How do you maintain PV panels?

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One of the best things about solar is that the panels are easy to maintain. Our bird proofing ensures that pigeons aren’t able to nest and tamper with your system, and the angle of the panels ensures that rain and snow will slide right off whilst cleaning them at the same time. Over time, you’ll need to be aware of anything new shading the panels to make sure you continue to get the very best out of them.

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How to contact us

Contact our solar experts

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Interested in a solar and battery installation?

Call us: 0808 196 6842
Email: solar@octopus.energy
(our phone lines are open 9am - 5pm, Monday to Thursday, and 9am - 4pm Friday.)

Need support after installation?

Call us: 0808 175 1696
Email: aftercare@octoes.com
(Our aftercare phone line is open 8am – 8pm Monday to Saturday, 10am - 6pm Sunday. Or we answer emails 7 days a week, so we’ll be on hand to help asap.)

If you have a complaint

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For the fastest response, fill out this form to raise any issues. Alternatively, you can email us on solar@octopus.energy, or call 0808 196 6842.
Our phone lines are open 9am - 5pm, Monday to Thursday, and 9am - 4pm Friday.

Check out our full complaints procedure here.

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