Most UK homes underestimate the financial benefits of going solar – Survey

by James Martin II on December 3, 2012

UK Survey: Households underestimate benefits of solar power

2 out of 3 people do not properly understand the financial benefits that a solar photovoltaics (PV) system could offer their home, according to the results of a survey of 2000 people from across the UK. Returns on investment for having solar panels installed are routinely underestimated by homeowners, and payback periods are overestimated.

The survey results show that the message of solar power’s attractiveness as an investment has not penetrated as deeply as it could into UK home and business owners’ collective psyche. Although the benefits are known to some, the responses to the survey indicate that more needs to be done to increase public awareness of the financial benefits of going solar.

Most of the survey respondents indicated that they believed that the annual return on investment (ROI) from a solar PV system is less than the 7-10% rate that is the norm–a rate significantly higher than interest from most savings accounts. ROI from solar has potential to be even higher–15% or greater–depending on the initial price of the system and how much power it produces over its lifetime.

The UK’s feed-in tariff, in combination with the falling price of solar panels and the rising cost of electricity mean that solar systems are more attractive than ever as an investment, even for middle-income households. A typical 4kWp solar system, for example, currently costs less than £5,600 and offers an annual benefit of approximately £800 (potentially more) per year in electricity bill savings.

Although it would be in its own best interest for the government (which has a renewable energy target of 20% by the year 2020 to achieve) to ensure that information about cost-effective ways to employ renewable energy is available to homes and businesses across the country, so far this has been mainly left to businesses. British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) chairman Reza Shaybani was quoted in PV magazine, saying that this more cooperation between government and industry is necessary to get the message out:

“There should be teamwork between the government and renewables industry. The government sets the policy and provides infrastructure, but they can’t do all the work for businesses.

“We have a huge problem in this country with our energy supply and bills.

“The reasons most people should be interested in solar photovoltaic is the generous ROI, it is true that feed-in-tariffs have dropped, but so has the cost of a panel, and installing it. People should also be looking to ensure they have secure supply of energy and of course renewable energy is so much better for the environment than using fossil fuels.

“People may be worried that we are in a recession and they don’t have the money to invest in solar panels, and that may well be, but the cost of energy will continue to rise and producing your own is the best way to protect yourself from that.”

Any ‘teamwork’ between industry and government would be likely involve the ‘Please Your Plug’ campaign that is already being undertaken by cleantech PR consultancy group Our Solar Future to counter much of the unwarranted negative publicity that solar power and other renewables routinely get in the media.

Interested in going solar? Request a Solar Quote Comparison from Solar Selections or get in touch with one of our team to discuss the benefits of going solar today.

020 7205 2267

© 2012 Solar Selections Ltd

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