The UK Government has set its stall out to become a nett zero emissions nation by 2050, and while this was a welcome stance when it was announced there are doubts as to the seriousness of the commitment, and fundamentally there is a lot of work to be done to reach these targets. Nevertheless, solar energy is one example of renewables contributing hugely to the UK’s efforts, while it is also acknowledged that the current trend for increased usage of solar PV technology in UK homes and businesses needs to continue. Domestic installations of solar panels doubled in the UK in 2022, compared to 2021, but essentially that figure needs to keep doubling every year in order to reach the Government’s targets. But importantly, that is possible.

At the end of 2023, according to MCS data, there were 1.3 million UK homes using solar panels, which is approximately 4.1% of the UK’s 29 million housing stock. There are also over 1000 ‘solar farms’ in the UK, which is the name given to commercial sites with above average solar capacity for business use. The UK is currently in the top 12 countries globally for solar usage, even if its figures sit significantly below the leading country, China, and below three other European countries, Spain, Italy and Germany. The UK is still considered a leading nation in terms of solar technology development and how it has been adopted, and while our figures may currently seem small, they are on the increase.

Solar panel cost reductions

The 2023 usage figures in the UK added 0.4GW of generated solar electricity onto the 2022 figure, while renewables generally accounted for 47.8% of the UK’s energy generation in the first quarter of last year, an all-time record. Although this figure includes other renewable energy sources, such as bioenergy, offshore and onshore wind and hydroelectricity, it demonstrates a commitment to adopting renewable energy, and for everyday homes and businesses, solar PV systems are the easiest and most cost-effective way to get involved in this trend.

Solar panel costs have decreased by 82% since 2010 as the development of photovoltaic technology has reduced material and labour costs, and this has coincided with an increased awareness of climate change and how people can make their own contribution. More affordable installations, along with initiatives such as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), have opened the solar panel market up to more homes and businesses than ever before. People are now awake to the fact that a solar panel installation is more likely to add value to a home, while previous attitudes suggested they were considered an eyesore that may actually decrease the value of a property. Indeed, according to a National Home Energy Survey, 69% of people are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to buy or rent a home with solar panels installed. This figure increases to 74% for the younger generation specifically, while 62% of respondents also wanted to replace gas with greener energy sources.

Solar panels are a viable green solution for homes and businesses

The UK currently has a total solar capacity of 15GW, which is minor compared to the 400GW that China can generate, but it does show that there is a hunger to adopt solar technology and an increased awareness of its benefits, particularly when you consider the UK was generating only one megawatt of solar energy in 2008. Reduced costs mean that the ‘return on investment’ figures also reduce, and that users are now able to see real financial benefits much sooner. This is helping solar PV technology to become more viable for smaller businesses and more domestic homes, and hence solar panels are becoming a more mainstream solution when looking at both climate change and the current cost of living crisis in the UK.

So there has never been a better time to consider a solar panel installation and to benefit from the reduced energy consumption that renewable energy sources can deliver. And if you want to learn more about sustainable energy sources and how to optimise their use in your home or business, then contact our experts at GoGreen Energy Servicing today.

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