Half Of Brits Want Solar Panels

13703677633_9127642d7e_bThanks to a number of cost-effective developments, the British public has a healthy appetite for renewable energy and solar panels in particular. With energy prices rising at the same time that the cost of solar installations are falling, it’s easy to see why renewables are gaining popularity. Add to that technological improvements that make solar panels more efficient than they were even five years ago, and you have a recipe for solar success.

Rising fuel prices make solar panels a better investment

Rising fuel prices is the reason most often cited by Brits who would like to install solar panels, with 89% of adults concerned about potential hikes. The standard tariff bill from one of the big six energy suppliers is £1,265, compared to only £472 ten years ago. If prices continue to rise at the same rate that they have done for the previous five years, that means homeowners could be paying out an eye watering £3,761 by the year 2025. With wages only increasing by 1.3% this year, many will be left feeling the cold at those price points.

Those who invest in solar panels now are secure against the prospect of price rises in the future, as they are able to generate electricity on their very own property. Protecting our planet from the effects of climate change is simply an added bonus.

49% of Brits who don’t have solar panels would purchase them if they had the money to do so

As a country, we’ve come a long way in terms of our attitude to solar panels. Many myths that have surrounded renewables are being dispelled as people start to listen to the research rather than the rumours. We now know that:

  1. Solar panels work by light, rather than heat, so they continue to work throughout the winter (even in England!)

  2. Solar panels offer a very competitive financial returns and often represent a better investment than many UK pensions.

  3. Renewable energy is subsidised five times less than the fossil fuel industry.

Solar panels keep falling in price, with a typical installation costing as little as £4,500 today, compared to £13,000 in 2010, according to statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. While not everyone can afford solar panels right now, lower prices in the future might allow for further deployment. As we become better informed about the benefits of solar panels as a society, we can make the right decisions when it comes to being energy-secure in our future. Yet unfortunately there are still a majority of people out there unaware of the financial incentives on offer for solar panels.

61% of Brits don’t know that the government pays consumers who buy solar panels

Those who are concerned about the costs of solar panels might be interested to hear that the government pays consumers for the energy that they generate through solar panels. The government purchases excess electricity produced by homeowners with panels for a fixed price, which is known as the ‘Feed-in Tariff.’ This means that with a typical installation a homeowner can expect to receive a return on their investment of between 5-8% for at least twenty years, according to government figures. If you have great conditions, such as a south-facing roof that is free of shading, then it’s likely that you will see returns in excess of 8%, and we have managed to secure returns of up to 14% on our own solar panel installations right here in Essex.

If you would like to learn more about solar panels, or would like to see an estimated return on investment for solar panels on your rooftop, give us a call on 01621 827015.

Photo Credit: City Clock Magazine

Solar On Course To Be the Largest Source of Electricity

2014 has been a great year for renewable energy, and both as a country and a planet we are making huge strides towards a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future. According to the IEA, new solar technologies “could prevent the emission of more than 6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050” – that’s more than the entire yearly output of the United States today! With the solar trade association also forecasting that solar will be cheaper than natural gas by 2018, the outlook for renewables is sunny to say the least. Here’s why:

Rapid Cost Reduction of Solar Panels

solar panel installerAs with all new technologies, the price of solar panels is coming down as time goes on. Prices have fallen to as little as 60% of what they were five years ago, and this trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing. Naturally the cheaper solar panels become, the better the return on investment that they bring to the table. Thanks to lower prices and more efficient panels, solar is on course to become competitive with the price of wholesale electricity by 2025.

Technological Improvement of Solar Energy

Solar panels are also becoming more efficient as the technology improves. Remember that with a panel that has a lifetime of 25 years, even a percentage point increase represents a massive difference in terms of your overall investment. As with falling prices, this trend also shows no signs of slowing.

We’re also seeing some new radical approaches to solar power that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Researchers in Australia have developed a kind of ‘solar ink’ that can be printed out and attached to windows or laptops, charging your gadgets with the power of sunlight. Some bright sparks in Canada have developed a ‘solar spray,’ which allows them to coat solar panels onto flexible materials and then easily cover your rooftop. If these technologies can make it to mass market, then they could have an enormous positive impact on the soft-costs of solar panel installation. Both of these examples are still far from commercial release, yet they offer an interesting glimpse of what a solar-powered future might look like.

Stable Government Support

In order for solar panels to achieve their full potential in the quickest possible time, the industry needs stable government support. Before you start complaining about industries that can’t stand on their own two feet, remember that the vast majority of the world’s energy production is subsidised, and that the fossil fuel industry is subsidized five times more than the renewable energy sector. We aren’t asking for a leg up, but rather a level playing field that rewards innovation and bright ideas.

If you think that solar panels are expensive compared to the returns on investment, then there’s a good chance that you haven’t seen the latest prices. To find up-to-date prices and hear an estimated ROI call: 01621 827015

Photo Credit: digiyesica

The Biggest British Businesses Are Installing Solar Panels: Here’s Why

Marks & Spencers in Castle Donington recently built the UK’s largest solar panel network in an attempt to source half of the company’s energy from renewables. The staggering 24,000 PV panels will provide enough energy to power Marks & Spencer’s entire distribution centre for online sales.

7002390074_bb07a8fea9_bcommercial solar panelsThe installation of PV solar panels for businesses is very efficient because energy is used at the time it is generated. In other words, businesses that operate during the day can use electricity generated on their own rooftops to massively reduce their overall energy requirements and costs.

Businesses are Seeing a Healthy Return on Investment in Solar Panels

Let’s be honest, big businesses and large supermarket chains don’t have the best reputation for putting the environment ahead of financial concerns. That being said, you might be surprised to learn while Marks & Spencers’ Castle Donington project is the largest solar panel network in the UK, Tesco takes second place and Sainsbury’s has the largest number of rooftop solar panels in Europe. Sainsbury’s currently has solar panels installed at 170,000 stores and offices.

It would be nice to think that Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencers were investing in solar because they are concerned about the environmental impact of fossil fuels, but you don’t come to dominate your marketplace like they have unless you put profit first. Big businesses are investing in solar panels because it makes excellent financial sense to invest now in order to reduce running costs dramatically later on down the line.

They are also well aware of the fact that the price of energy is likely to continue rising. A sudden hike could be disastrous for businesses that haven’t protected themselves by investing in renewables. For businesses, the idea that renewable energy might just save the planet is simply an added bonus.

Not only that, but using otherwise unproductive rooftop space to generate electricity is a smart way to maximise the profit-making potential of every inch of your building. The only major barrier to more widespread installation of solar panels is not installation costs, as these are quickly weighed out by a good return on investment, but the fact that many commercial businesses don’t own their own buildings.

Consumers and governments alike are increasingly judging businesses on their green credentials

There’s also a growing demand among a number of consumers that the companies that they do business with are environmentally friendly. Just as the ethical concerns have had an impact on the sales of factory-farmed eggs and dolphin-friendly tuna, smart businesses know that having a good reputation for environmental practises will continue to be important for customer loyalty. As well as consumers, governments are increasingly expecting businesses to meet certain environmental requirements.

Maximising the productivity of our businesses’ rooftops is plainly the way that Britain and British businesses alike can get the most from renewable energy. It will bring long term benefits to the country and to the planet too.

Do you own the roof of your own business? Why not find out what has got Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencers going green and ask us for an estimate for your return on investment with solar panels.

Photo Credit: pieter.morlion