Going Green: Sales of solar panels is going through the roof

Professor Bill McGuireProfessor Bill McGuire
Professor Bill McGuire
I know a lot of people have solar panels on their houses but are they worth it and how much does solar power contribute to the UK energy supply?

The number of houses with solar panels is going through the roof – quite literally – in the UK. I installed them six years ago and haven’t looked back since. The great news is though that while the National Grid has welcomed solar energy, more consumers are looking at getting the panels for their homes.

Over 1.3 million homes in the UK have solar panels and while that’s only around four percent of homes, the number of installations is increasing and the UK is now proudly among the top 12 countries for solar power capacity.

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While solar is one of the easiest to access renewable energy for the average home owner who wants to help the environment, the UK has also had a fantastic month when it comes to wind power.

Two men installing new solar panels on the roof of a private house. Photo: AdobeTwo men installing new solar panels on the roof of a private house. Photo: Adobe
Two men installing new solar panels on the roof of a private house. Photo: Adobe

In fact, earlier this month, wind generated over 60 percent of the electricity the country needed in a single day with a further 5 per cent coming from solar and 2 percent from hydro.

Overall a staggering 71 percent of the UKs electricity on a single day coming from renewable sources – what a huge cause for celebration and a brilliant example of what we can achieve when consistent government policy exists that benefits both the country and the planet. The more clean energy we use, the less methane gas we need to import, which is more expensive and creates polluting greenhouse gases.

What’s great news too is that while we’re doing well right now, we have the capacity to do even better. Research commissioned by Friends of The Earth and carried out by Exeter University has suggested England could produce around 13 times more renewable energy than it does now. All while using less than 3 percent of its land and that three percent excludes national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, higher grade agricultural land and heritage sites so it avoids areas of historical significance, high food production and environmental importance.

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If you’re new to the idea of solar panels, your local MCS accredited installer will be able to help you do an assessment on the potential investment returns.

Why not holiday in the UK instead of abroad. Photo:AdobeWhy not holiday in the UK instead of abroad. Photo:Adobe
Why not holiday in the UK instead of abroad. Photo:Adobe

If you’re looking to buy a new build, it’s worth investigating the carbon standards of the build as otherwise it could end up costing you.

Unfortunately, the construction sector –has saved themselves around £15bn in the last nine years by building homes without solar panels heat pumps and effective insulation with bill payers picking up the tab instead.

They’ve been able to do this thanks to lobbying for delays in implementing planned low-carbon building regulations since the Conservatives came to power in 2016. It’s four times more expensive to retrofit homes than build them to high quality in the first place so these changes can’t come quick enough.

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Unfortunately, the cost of remedying, if left to individual homeowners or taxpayers, would reach around £45 billion, which is why many politicians are calling for solar panels to be mandatory on any new building

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