Panasonic Has Just Invented The World’s Most Efficient Rooftop Solar Panel

Panasonic’s claim of a 22.5% sunlight to electricity conversion rate was confirmed by the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Another day, another milestone passed in the never-ending pursuit of excellence in solar energy. Panasonic’s historic achievement came barely a week after their main competitor, SolarCity, announced that they had developed their own take on the world’s most efficient solar panel. Business rivalry aside, the trend is clear and it is good news for everyone — solar panel technology is continuing to improve with every passing day.

Playing the solar panel percentages

Increasing the efficiency of solar panels by even half a percentage point can result in massive gains over a solar panel’s lifetime. This is because a solar cell works every hour of every day for twenty-five years, so a little percentage point plus adds up to a big difference in the total amount of electricity generated for your home.

Panasonic’s new prototype is a 72-cell, 270-watt model that is built using crystalline silicon solar cells. These crystalline silicon cells are excellent for domestic rooftops because they are much more affordable to manufacture than other technologies. Silicon crystalline cells are currently the best technology available when it comes to the cost per watt ratio, which is why this announcement is big news for homeowners.

So what is the best solar panel on the market?

Panasonic’s record-breaking solar panel is a prototype, and not yet available for consumers. But it is ready for mass-production and able to generate electricity straight off the production line, which sets it apart from the 40% effective solar panels that scientists are already able to build, but are not yet able to mass produce.

We think that this solar panel will be a genuine contender for best solar panel on the market, but only if they are able to keep the price point down. We used to install plenty of Panasonic HIT-N240 hybrid solar panels, which operated at a cool 19% efficiency for the 230-watt model, but they’ve become expensive when compared to their rivals, particularly LG, so it’s been awhile since we last installed one. That said, Panasonic are a great manufacturer and we would be keen continue installing their products if the opportunity ever arose.

What impact will Panasonic’s new solar panel have on the market?

We currently install mainly LG solar panels, such as the MonoX, because their excellent efficiency, industry-leading warranties and affordable price all add up to give our customers the best possible deal. The new Panasonic panel will beat LG on efficiency, but price and durability are equally important factors. We can’t wait to get our first look at this new panel in the flesh so that we can come to a final decision on whether Panasonic’s new panel will truly be a gamechanger.

If you are looking to have a Panasonic solar panel installed, an LG solar panel installed, would like to have some solar hot water maintenance or are even interested in finding an underfloor heating supplier in Essex, get in touch with us over at [email protected].

Do Solar Panels Work On Cloudy Days?

There are a lot of confused individuals out there who want to know whether solar panels can work despite the sometimes dreary English weather. Rest assured: a huge amount of sunlight hits the UK every day – and solar panels can use this sunlight to generate electricity.

It might not feel like it on a cold November morning, but solar energy is hurtling through unimaginable distances of space and bombarding little old England every moment of every day. Those that say England isn’t sunny enough for solar energy are missing the evidence that is all around them – all life on the planet comes from the sun, and if England gets enough sunlight to grow vast forests and extensive ecosystems then it certainly gets enough sunlight to power your home!

How do solar panels work?

In the simplest possible terms, solar panels work by allowing photons (particles of light) to knock electrons free from atoms, which generates electricity. Then an electric field, some conductive materials and a couple of other components which make up a photovoltaic (PV) cell allow the newly generated electricity to flow like any other electrical source.

A rooftop solar panel is made up of many PV cells, which is why you’ll sometimes hear solar panels referred to as solar PV. This newly generated electricity can then be used to power your home, and excess electricity can be exported to the national grid.

You might have noticed that heat is not an inherent part of this process. In fact, solar panels actually work better in cooler climates because extreme heat can interfere with a solar panel’s efficiency. So the UK’s cool temperature is, if anything, an advantage to solar panel efficiency.

So how effective are solar panels on cloudy days?

Clouds do magnify, scatter, absorb and reflect photons. Less photons hit the solar panels on cloudy days, which usually means that less electricity is generated, though there is an exception which we’ll discuss later on. Clouds don’t block out all photons — otherwise we would be in pitch darkness every time a cloud passed overhead — so solar panels do continue to generate some electricity even on cloudy days. The amount of electricity generated will depend on several factors such as the density of the cloud and the model and positioning of the solar panel.

Rather than looking at the amount of electricity that a solar panel will generate on a single cloudy day, it is more useful to estimate how much electricity a solar panel will generate during an average year. The South West and South East of England get more sunlight on average than the rest of the UK, making counties like Somerset, Kent and Essex excellent places to get solar panels installed. Talk to a solar panel installer in Essex or your local area to get an accurate estimate on the amount of sunlight that your home will get in a year — also known as your ‘insolation rating.’

Every cloud has a magnifying lining…

As we mentioned above, clouds do sometimes reflect photons, but sometimes they can magnify them too. When sunlight passes through the edge of a cloud, this can magnify the sunlight and boost to your solar panel output. These temporary boosts can help to compensate for the times when there is total cloud cover. This phenomenon is called the edge of cloud effect, and it truly demonstrates that every cloud has a silver lining.

Complete Renewables are the #1 renewable energy developers and PV solar panel installers in Essex. Send us over an email at [email protected] and we’ll answer any questions that you might have about commercial or domestic solar panels, solar energy or anything else!

The Renewable Heat Incentive: Why Solar Panels Aren’t The Only Option…

With government changes to the Feed-in Tariff affecting the amount that homeowners can earn with solar panels, now’s a good time to reassess a lesser known subsidy.

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

The renewable heat incentive is a government scheme which pays those who install eligible renewable heating technology. It was originally designed with large, difficult to heat buildings in mind, such as schools and hospitals, but has since been extended to homeowners. If you have an eligible piece of heating technology installed, then you could qualify for payments. A typical payment for a small terrace home with a ground source heat pump is £7,700 over seven years according to the DECC website.

Which technologies can I claim the Renewable Heat Incentive on?

Here at Complete Renewables, we have three main products which benefit from the renewable heat incentive. These are:

  1. Ground source heat pumps (typical payment £7,700)
  2. Air source heat pumps (typical payment £2,660)
  3. Solar thermal panels (typical payment £1,330)

In addition, those with biomass boilers are also eligible. These technologies are considered ‘renewable’ because they can heat your home without the use of finite fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.

How do these technologies work?

We are experienced fitters and installers of ground source heat pumps in Essex, so we have a deep understanding of how these technologies can improve the comfort of your home and save you money.

Ground source heat pumps work by extracting heat from the ground and then circulating that heat around your home. They work best when you are able to dig deep trenches for the pipes. You might be surprised to learn that the ground is quite warm, even in winter, so that when the heating fluids are piped through a compressor to raise the temperatures you will not need an additional heating source for your home.

Air source heat pumps work in the same way, but, as the name suggests, they extract heat from the air rather than the ground. Think of a fridge or an air conditioning unit working in reverse and you are not so far off! Air source heat pumps are cheaper and easier to install than ground source heat pumps.

As trusted local solar panel trade suppliers in Essex, we get a lot of requests for solar thermal panel installations too. While the typical PV solar panel converts sunlight into electricity, a solar thermal panel, or solar water heating system, uses the sun’s energy to heat your water supply. They work by collecting the sun’s heat and using this heat to warm up the water stored in a cylinder. Though a solar thermal panel can easily meet a whole family’s hot water needs, you can keep your boiler as a backup if you want.

How long will the Renewable Heat Incentive payments last?

The RHI is a binding agreement between you and the government. This means that if you do your part by installing renewable heating technology in your home, the government guarantees that it will pay you at the agreed rate for at least the next seven years. But the government’s current RHI subsidy is up for review in March 2016, and the rumours are that the payments will be reduced. If you are considering getting thermal solar panels or a heat pump installed, then you should act now to make sure that you qualify for the current rate of payment.

If you need a solar panel supplier in Essex, look no further than Complete Renewables. Our experienced and reputable engineers can help you understand renewable heat technologies and give you an accurate estimate of what you can expect to earn through the renewable heat incentive.

Subsidy Changes to Solar Panels: What Homeowners Need to Know

The UK government has announced that it plans to make drastic changes to the renewable energy subsidy scheme for solar panel owners

In August 2015, the government announced plans to reduce the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) by close to 90%. The FIT is a subsidy that pays homeowners and businesses for each unit of renewable energy which they generate. Currently the FIT means that the average solar panel system pays out £495 a year. When the cut is enacted in January 2016, all new homeowners who install solar panels will receive less – just £64 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Why has the government made these changes?

The government’s official argument is that these cuts will lead to savings of £6 on the average homeowner’s energy bill. Amber Rudd, energy secretary, has said that the “overall cost of the scheme to the wider public has exceeded expectations, while the price of solar installations has fallen spectacularly.”

The Huffington Post agrees on that last point, telling readers that “since 2008, the global cost of installing solar panels has actually fallen by as much as 80 per cent, and contractors have made big strides in operating more cheaply and efficiently.”

The changes have been criticised by environmental groups and big businesses alike. Friends of the Earth say that the changes to the subsidy will cost the UK 20,000 jobs, and Panasonic, a normally quiet company, has urged the government to “ help (the solar industry) further develop to become fully independent from state support, with energy storage and a closer involvement of utilities. But let’s not push the bird out of the nest before it can properly fly.”

What does this mean for those who already have solar panels installed?

Those that already have solar panels installed will continue to receive payments at the original rate. The contract that a homeowner makes with the government when installing solar panels is binding, and cannot be affected by later changes to the FIT rate. This means that lucky individuals who already have solar panels installed will continue to benefit for years to come.

What does this mean for those thinking about getting solar panels?

It’s not too late to benefit from the current FIT levels. If you get solar panels installed before January 2016, then you’ll qualify for the current rate of payment for the next 20 – 25 years, which adds up to £8,750 in FIT payments alone. That’s not to mention the substantial savings you’ll make on your energy bill too.

We shouldn’t forget either the reason for solar panels in the first place. The government website states that: “Innovation in energy technologies is essential if the UK is to meet our challenging future climate change goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Other renewable energy subsidy schemes have not been targeted by the government. Ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps and solar water heating systems are covered by a different subsidy, the Renewable Heat Incentive, which still guarantees generous payments of 19.2p per kWh over the next seven years.

Act now to get solar panels installed in Essex before the 2016 deadline. Complete Renewables are the leading solar panel trade suppliers in Essex. We’re also the leading solar heating system installers and expert fitters of ground source heat pumps. For an open and honest explanation of the subsidy changes and what they will mean for you, give us a ring on 01621 827015 today.

What Potential Changes To The Feed-In Tariff Mean For Solar Panel Buyers

As solar panels produce energy more efficiently and become more profitable for homeowners, the government is reducing green subsidies paid to homeowners such as the Feed-In Tariff (FIT). What will these changes mean for homeowners that are thinking about getting solar panels installed?

What is going to happen to the FIT?

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is the government body that will review the current subsidy levels and decide if any adjustments need to be made. At the moment, homeowners and solar farms are paid by the government per unit of renewable energy generated. The current plan is to shelve these subsidies for certain categories of solar farms by 2016. Subsidies for homeowners will also be discussed. It is being reported that proposed changes to the subsidy scheme will save as little as 50 pence on the average electricity bill.

Energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd has justified the review by saying: “we need to keep bills as low as possible for hard-working families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way… As costs [of solar panels] continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies.”

What does this mean for those that are considering solar panels?

The changes are most likely to affect farmers and small businesses that are planning to install large numbers of ground-mounted solar panels to take advantage of the incentive. Many farmers had been hoping that they could keep smaller animals such as chickens and sheep in the same field as solar panels, and in this way not only double the output of their fields, but also protect themselves from price fluctuations. Farmers and small businesses that were planning to install more solar panels will have to re-evaluate the return on investment that solar panels will bring once the incentive is withdrawn. Homeowners may not be affected so badly, as there is a chance that the FIT could remain at the same level after the 2015/2016 review.

Does this mean that now is a bad time to install solar panels?

Actually, it means that now is a great time to install solar panels, so long as you do so quickly. The government’s “impact assessment” will most likely be published at the end of 2015 or at the start of 2016. Solar panels installed before September 30th, and possibly those installed as late as February 2016, will still qualify for the current generous FIT payment for the entirety of their 20 to 25 year lifespan (depending on location). After that, things are less clear. Though FIT payments could stay the same, there could also be cuts. If you want to receive the current level of FIT payments, your best bet is to act as quickly as possible.

Those that already have solar panels installed won’t be affected by the review.

Are solar panels still a good investment for homeowners?

Solar panel installation costs have fallen dramatically in recent years, from £18,000 in 2010 to around £5,500 today. This means that although the FIT payments have also fallen (the returns), so has the cost of installation (the investment). Those that install solar panels before September 30th will receive 12.92 per kWh, provided that their home is certificated at energy performance brand D or higher. Someone with an unobstructed south facing roof that installs a modern solar panel system in Essex for £5,000 can expect a combined income and electricity bill saving of about £600 a year over the guaranteed twenty five year lifespan of a solar panel, amounting to more than double the original outlay.

Talk to our friendly and experienced engineers on 01621 827015 to see how much you could save each year with solar panels in Essex from Complete Renewables.

What Is The Minimum Pricing Policy and How Does It Affect UK Solar Panel Purchases?

The EU protects European solar panel manufacturers by imposing a minimum price on Chinese imports. But by protecting European businesses through artificially raising the price of solar panel installation, is the EU failing to protect the environment?

Thanks to a devalued currency, government subsidies and a much larger-scale manufacturing industry, Chinese manufacturers can export solar panels to the UK at below the European production costs, potentially putting European competitors out of business. To keep European manufacturers competitive, the European Commission implemented punishing tariffs for Chinese exporters in 2013.

Yet allegations that large numbers of Chinese solar panels are still being dumped into European markets at illegal prices have fanned the flames of an already heated debate. With the yuan being devalued by a further 2% recently, the price difference between Chinese solar panels and their European counterparts will become even steeper.

What is the minimum pricing policy for solar panels?

The current rules stipulate that Chinese imports must comply with the minimum import price (MIP). The MIP ramps up the price of imported Chinese solar panels so that they are in line with the costs of solar panels manufactured in Europe. If the MIP weren’t in place, consumers would have access to cheaper solar panels, but European solar panel producers would go out of business.

The policy has been widely criticised for pushing up the price of green energy in Europe, and has been called “unfair protectionism” for European manufacturers. Solar panel installers argue that access to clean energy is so important to homeowners that the MIP should not be extended when it is up for review in December. In contrast, European solar manufacturers in favour of the MIP are set to launch a formal request for the policy to be extended in 2016.

What does this mean for solar panel buyers in the UK?


According to the latest estimates from industry experts, solar panel modules are more expensive in the EU than the global average, largely due to the MIP.

A solar panel that costs £5,333 in the UK might costs as little as £4,000 in the US – a price difference of £1,333. The recent yuan devaluation will increase that difference, given that China manufactured roughly 64% of the world’s solar PV panels last year.

The UK’s Renewable Energy Association (REA) has found that more than 50% of the installation costs of solar panels in the UK are due to the cost of solar panel modules, meaning that scrapping the MIP would considerably lower the price of solar panels for UK consumers.

Consumers tend to think of solar panels as a high-cost product, but what they often fail to realise is that these high prices are at least in part determined by EU policy rather than market forces. REA analyst Lauren Cook says that ending the MIP would help solar panels to be cost-effective even without government subsidies. She added that to deliver lower cost green energy, the MIP must not be extended past December of this year.

Those that are concerned about the environmental impact of producing a solar panel in China and shipping it all the way to England before installation should take heart though. A recent report reveals that a solar panel ‘pays back’ the energy and material cost of transportation and installation in just four years, then continues to produce clean energy for a further two decades.

At Complete Renewables, we specialise in the installation of LG solar panels because of their outstanding durability and incredible 25 year warranty. This guarantees that your solar panels will be generating at least 80.2% power output by the end of the 25th year. Learn more about the LG panels we install today!

Renewable Technologies Generate More Energy Than Nuclear In Europe

Renewable energy technologies are cheaper than nuclear plants, safer than nuclear plants, and now they generate more energy than nuclear plants too.

“For the first time ever in Europe, renewables produced more power than nuclear – and solar power was key in achieving this remarkable achievement,” according to Michael Schmela of SolarPower Europe.

Countries around the world installed solar panels at record-breaking pace in 2014 to bring total capacity to 100 times the level it was at the start of the millennium. Britain was at the helm in Europe, and is on track to retain first place this year too.

This milestone shows us that Britain can power itself with largely through renewable energy, without taking a nuclear gamble.

Why should we choose solar panels over nuclear power plants?

Nuclear plants are, in comparison to coal, low-carbon. But there remain a number of compelling reasons why policymakers prefer solar panels and wind turbines to nuclear power plants.

First are the health concerns. Nuclear plants cause radiation that can be dangerous to those that live and work nearby. Numerous researchers have uncovered an elevated risk of cancer in those that live near nuclear plants, such as the Bradwell nuclear power station. Worse still, there is always the risk of a nuclear meltdown such as the one that happened in Fukushima. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is at pains to point out that “there is no safe level of radiation.”

Another problem is the production of nuclear waste, which takes tens of thousands of years to decay. By 2020, we’ll have 140 tonnes of plutonium – what the BBC describes as the “biggest non-military stockpile in the world.” This necessitates investing in tough security measures to prevent deadly nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands.

The most radioactive waste produces enough heat to corrode all containers, and would kill anyone exposed to it for more than a couple of days. Some waste can be reprocessed, but the only long term solution we currently have is burying it under the ground. It’s for this reason that few people consider nuclear to be a sustainable option.

Nuclear plants are also much more expensive than renewable technology…

Perhaps most importantly from the government’s perspective, nuclear has turned out to be a very expensive method of producing energy.

The company that is building Hinkley C, the UK’s latest nuclear plant, is treading water after running into immense financial difficulties building plants in Finland and France. Unfortunately the building underway in England is based on the same model that has so far been a complete failure on the continent. Critics say that Hinkley C the most expensive object ever built, and of course it is the British taxpayer that has footed the bill once again.

This doesn’t even cover the cost of decommissioning a plant once its lifespan is up, which can be just as expensive as construction. The cost of decommissioning Sellafield nuclear plant has completely spiralled out of control.

What’s next for solar energy?

While the latest nuclear plants are getting more and more expensive, the cost of solar panels is going in the other direction.

“New wind and solar power systems can generate electricity up to 50% cheaper than new nuclear power plants,” according to Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende.

A study conducted by Prognos AG concludes that a system of renewable energy technologies supported by natural-gas power plants to overcome intermittency would be 20% cheaper than constructing more nuclear power plants.

Overtaking nuclear is an impressive milestone for renewable energy – one that would have been unimaginable five years ago. Overtaking coal is the vital next step.

Be part of a brighter future. Install solar panels in Essex with Complete Renewables today.

Solar Energy Could Meet The Entire World’s Energy Demands In Under Two Decades

From zero to hero: explosive solar panel growth means that renewables now produce more power than nuclear in the UK.

UK solar output almost doubled last year in Britain, with solar panels installed on buildings and land unsuitable for farming producing enough energy to power 2.4 million homes. If solar energy continues to grow at the current rate, its output will match the world’s power demand in just eighteen years time.

How much energy do solar panels produce in the UK?

On one record-breaking day in July, the country’s 709,000 solar installations supplied 16% of the UK’s electricity demand.

This is an enormous success for a country that barely had solar panels five years ago. Britain has demonstrated its potential to become a dominate player in the global solar market, providing jobs, a return on investment, and cost-effective electricity at home.

But the competition is fierce. Other countries not traditionally known for their environmentalist thinking have woken up to the possibilities of solar. India and China will each have 100GW installed by 2022.

A solar-powered future for the UK

By making better use of our largest unused rooftops on warehouses, factories and supermarkets, solar power in the UK can exceed even the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s expectations.

An independently verified plan from the solar trade association has solar power providing 7% of the UK’s electricity on a daily basis in 2020, outcompeting fossil fuels on price, and providing 57,000 jobs across solar and solar-related industries. Carrying out this plan would eliminate subsidies for solar panels and cost household’s just £13 each on their energy bills.

And it’s not just the solar trade association that are reading the writing on the wall.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest forecast is that renewable energy will produce more power than coal within fifteen years, and Saudi Arabia’s own oil minister has predicted the end of oil by the middle of the century. Deutsche Bank estimates that the global solar market will be worth $5 trillion by 2035.

Solar panels are getting cheaper and better – having seen a 70% price drop in five years. These improvements combined with improvements in energy storage and the implementation of “smart grids” that respond efficiently to consumer and supplier demands, we could soon be powering our country without polluting it.

Why choose solar power?

Aside from the obvious financial and environmental incentives, there are numerous compelling reasons to invest in a solar future.

The solar industry is much more home-grown than other energy industries. That means when we spend on solar, more of that money stays in the UK than if we spend on nuclear technology or off-shore wind, both of which require more parts, technology or labour to be imported from outside of the country.

Producing energy in the UK would also free our politicians from wrangling with dubious Russian or Middle-Eastern fossil fuel suppliers. It’s very difficult for the UK to condemn Vladimir Putin’s involvement in Crimea, for example, when by purchasing his coal we contribute to the cost of his army.

Then there is the voice of the British people to consider. Solar panels enjoy a greater than 80% public support levels across a number of opinion surveys, making them more popular than the government and much less controversial than nearby nuclear plants, fracking or wind turbines.

According to chief executive Juliet Davenport: “Solar power in the UK is an astonishing success story. Five years ago solar hardly existed in the UK, so it’s amazing to see… over 15% of the UK’s electricity being produced by solar [on the 3rd of July]. The public has really got behind it, it goes hand in hand with farming and biodiversity, and best of all it doesn’t pump carbon into the atmosphere.”

Be part of the solar success story. Install solar panels on your Essex building and reduce your energy bills.

Solar Panels On Public Properties – A Win-Win Solution

David Cameron’s agreement to end fossil fuel usage by the year 2100 is an admirable and long-awaited goal. Installing solar panels on public properties could be key to its success.

Think ‘rooftop solar panels’ and the first image that springs to mind is probably a residential home. Solar panels have been popular amongst homeowners since 2010 due to an average annual return on investment of 10%, providing residents with a healthy income for the next twenty-five years. Commercial solar panels have also taken off – powering business operations and impressing customers in Essex and across the UK

But the recent success of government and local council projects suggests that we have been missing out by overlooking the possibility of solar panels on public buildings.

How did Newcastle Council reduce carbon emissions by 22% since 2005?

Three years ago, North Tyneside Council partnered with E.On to install 1,500 PV solar panels on buildings in Newcastle. The scheme was a huge success, reducing C02 emissions in the area by a tonne. Private companies such as E.On are happy to take on the upfront cost because they make their money back by selling excess electricity to the grid, while locals enjoy lower energy bills to the tune of £150 each year.

In light of this success, North Tyneside Council is pressing ahead with a new solar panel scheme. Councillor John Stirling described the situation as “win-win… great for the environment, and great for our residents benefiting from free energy.”

Have solar panels on public properties been a success elsewhere?

Not completely.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has been criticised for failing to get the ball rolling on solar panels for schools in London, despite the fact that most of the capital’s 3,000 schools could accommodate at least a 25 kWp system. Money saved on a school’s energy bills has the potential to do exceptional good – because it frees up funding for teachers, books and computers.

While the charity 10:10 has been doing excellent work with its crowd-funded ‘solar schools’ project, the majority of suitable schools are still not making the most of their roof space.

Boris Johnson has since attempted to fix this issue by confirming that funding will be set aside for solar PV on public buildings in London, including schools, though commentators are less than impressed by his track record on the issue.

What’s next for solar panels on public properties?

It seems likely that we will see a lot more currently unproductive land put to use generating electricity – and profit – for the government.

Indeed, the government has announced plans to install 1GW of solar power on government land. The first project, recently completed at a Ministry of Defence (MOD) training facility, will produce 40 MW of electricity at the site. Half of the energy will power the indoor training facilities, while the other half will be exported back into the national grid to generate revenue for the MOD.

The site, which cannot be sold to a private company nor be put to agricultural use due to poor soil quality, is an excellent example of another win-win situation for solar panels on public land.

Interested in your own win-win solution? Complete Renewables are the leading solar panel trade suppliers in Essex. We also fit air source heat pumps in Essex and the surrounding area.

New Energy Secretary Backs Rooftop Solar Panels for Homeowner

Energy secretary Amber Rudd promises to “unleash a new solar revolution.”

It looks like millions more could benefit from falling energy bills and generous subsidies, which is great news for homeowners and PV solar panel installers in Essex and across the UK.

“We have a million people under roofs with solar panels and that number needs to increase,” said Amber Rudd to her local newspaper, the Hastings and St Leonard Observer. She went on to explain that her “new role is quite simple: to keep the lights on and carbon emissions down, whilst saving consumers money on their energy bill.”

What do her comments mean for the future of solar panels in the UK?

The announcement is good news for homeowners that are thinking of having solar panels installed. The Conservatives did not mention solar panels in their 2015 manifesto, which lead to some anxiety amongst environmentalists. But commentators are taking this announcement from Rudd as a signal that subsidies for solar panels will continue.

Is the government committed to renewable energy technology?

The new government has a mixed attitude towards renewable energy.

London Mayor Boris Johnson announced that the new government would “certainly” be the “greenest ever,” yet at the same time the Conservative manifesto contains a pledge to “halt” the development of onshore wind farms.

Likewise, Rudd’s announcement suggests that the government will continue to support rooftop solar panels, but makes no mention of large scale solar farms, which were often attacked by the Coalition.

Most ambitiously of all, David Cameron and the other G7 leaders agreed that the use of fossil fuel should be phased out by the end of the century – but stopped short of signing a legally binding pledge.

Energy minister Lord Bourne indicated the government’s position on renewables by stating that “we need more clean and home-grown sources of energy, which will help to reduce our reliance on foreign fossil fuels.” As solar thermal installers in Essex, we couldn’t agree more.

Is now the best time to buy solar panels?

Based on the available evidence, it looks like now is a very good time to buy solar panels.

Solar panel prices have fallen massively. In 2010, putting a small solar panel system on your roof would have cost £15,000. But today even the largest solar panel system would cost much less, most likely somewhere in the region of £6,000.

The government’s payments to homeowners that install solar panels have dropped in line with the cost of installation. Paul Barwell, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association, explained to This is Money that “as the cost of solar has gradually come down so has the feed in tariff, which means that the return on investment for householders is just as good now as it was in 2010.”

Indeed, the Daily Telegraph recently found that now is the best time to buy solar panels since 2010. This is Money, financial website of the year, found that installing solar panels results in an average 10% tax-free return on investment. In certain properties in Essex and the sunny South-East, the return could be even higher.

If you install solar panels in Essex before the July review, you may be eligible for a higher rate of payment. We are also well known air source heat pump suppliers for Essex and beyond too. Find out more today.