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WHY ARE SOLAR PANELS SO POPULAR IN THE UK?

08/14/2021

In addition to the key advantages of solar panels, they also have a range of specific benefits that make them attractive to UK homeowners and businesses alike. These encompass sheer practicalities and cost savings, wider economic factors, and changing attitudes towards climate change and similar environmental concerns.

Some of the main reasons why solar panels are so popular in the UK include:

  • Solar panels offer significant cost savings on electricity bills
  • The Smart Export Guarantee lets owners profit from excess electricity generated
  • Solar is environmentally friendly and sustainable, helping to meet green targets
  • Modern shoppers are more becoming environmentally-conscious
  • The price of solar is dropping
  • Solar creates jobs and reduces UK reliance on energy imports
  • Solar panels are easy and cheap to maintain
  • It provides a useful source of energy to customers ‘off-the-grid’

Solar panels offer significant cost savings on electricity bills

Solar panels help save you money. This is obviously one of the most universal appeals of UK solar PV installations, for businesses, other organisations and individual homeowners alike. The bulk of their cost is carried up-front in their supply and installation, and besides that they require very little other investment. Instead, they produce free energy for the rest of their serviceable lifespans, helping to offset the costs from energy bills and thereby helping owners save significant amounts of money.

Over time, the panels themselves are becoming steadily cheaper and more efficient, and the cost of solar is going down too.

The Smart Export Guarantee lets owners profit from excess electricity generated

In a nutshell, the Smart Export Guarantee is a UK government initiative designed to incentivise solar PV installations. It allows owners to make money from any excess electricity they don’t use, chiefly by providing them the option to sell it directly back to their energy supplier. The SEG came into effect in 2020 and replaced the Feed In Tariff, which served basically the same role.

The big difference between the SEG and FIT is that the Feed In Tariff involved customers selling electricity directly back to the National Grid, at rates set by the government authority Ofgem. In contrast, the SEG allows customers to sell the excess energy back to their energy supplier, creating healthy market competition designed to encourages suppliers to offer the best prices.

Solar PV allows owners to increase their energy independence and security

Having a consistent source of on-site electricity generation means that solar PV owners become less dependent on the National Grid. Not only does this allow them to benefit from the sorts of cost savings we’ve detailed above, but it also provides an effective measure against power outages by giving owners an emergency backup source of energy. This is especially vital for businesses – every moment of downtime can have hugely detrimental costs, and having the ability to guard against that can preserve productivity and save enormous amounts of money.

It’s an environmentally-friendly, sustainable source of power

Again, this is a widely touted advantage of solar energy. Unlike fossil fuel energy, solar panels are clean and don’t emit any sort of harmful gas or pollutant. This is an especially popular advantage for UK businesses, as it allows them to reduce their impact on the environment, helping them to meet their own green targets as they strive to become a more socially-conscious and responsible organisation.

Public attitudes in the UK are changing

The ability of solar panels to provide clean, green energy is becoming all the more important to organisations in a country where the public is becoming increasingly more conscious about the impact their buying decisions have on the environment and the world at large.

We’ve previously covered how UK citizens have a vision for the new normal – 51% of respondents to a YouGov survey noticed cleaner air outdoors, and recent satellite images have shown a marked reduction in emissions. Many members of the general public are already planning to make changes to their lives in future to help them maintain this new normal, and they’re likely to expect the same from businesses where they shop, trop.

Donc, demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility is more important for businesses than ever, as modern businesses who can demonstrate tangible green credentials can get the edge over their competitors.

The price of UK solar PV is steadily dropping

The UK’s solar market is already highly competitive, and the technology is still becoming cheaper, more efficient and more accessible than ever. When the Feed In Tariff scheme was launched back in 2010, a 4kW solar PV installation cost about £20,000. The median cost for an installation of the same scale was around £6668 by 2017, which equates to about a 67% drop in the cost of the installation – without compromising on the returns that solar panels bring for customers.

What’s more, the lifetime costs of solar PV are projected to drop by around half over the next few decadesaccording to renewable energy company Statkraft. Gas and other fossil fuels aren’t seeing nearly this level of flexibility in price, so by 2030 it’s estimated that solar panels will be one of the cheapest energy sources on the market. Par 2050, it’s likely to make up around 70% of the UK’s power generation, making it a more attractive option than ever.

The industry creates jobs, and reduces UK reliance on imports

The UK’s solar power industry spans a number of disciplines and specialisms, including installation, maintenance, distribution and manufacturing. This opens up the opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs in the energy industry for UK residents, helping to make domestic energy supply and prices more secure. As an extra bonus, it also reduces the UK’s need to import electricity from abroad. With the right support by the government and growing confidence amongst the public, the solar energy could bring around 50,000 jobs to the UK by 2050.

Solar PV installations are very easy to maintain

Once commercial solar panels (or domestic ones) have been installed, they require very little maintenance. They only require occasional cleaning of the panels and replacement of parts like the cables and inverters, and most of these parts generally last between 25 à 30 years before they need to be replaced. This makes solar panels a great long term solution for businesses, helping to save money while minimising costs.

Solar energy is available to customers ‘off the grid’

Solar PV installations are particularly useful to individuals, businesses and organisations which might be some distance out from normal infrastructure, such as relatively remote counties – or even islands off the British coast – where they might have limited access to the National Grid. Solar panels can produce electricity in any location that gets a decent amount of sunlight, making it a flexible and highly accessible method of generation.

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