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Solar panel sales are soaring as the cost-of-living increases. Industry experts report that sales have gone ‘through the roof’ as a result of energy bills reaching extreme peaks. 2022 has seen an average of 3000 purchases a week, an increase of over 33% from 2020, according to Solar Panel UK
With Bywaters boasting London’s largest ever solar PV retrofit, we’d love to share with you some of our thoughts and research on the world of solar energy.
What is the cost of living crisis?
The cost-of-living crisis is a term used to describe the difficulties Brits are experiencing, with the cost of basic necessities, such as housing, food, and transportation, rising faster than wages. It was announced recently by the UK’s energy regulator that London residents will see an additional 80% increase in annual household energy bills; this comes only six months after a previous hike in prices.
The crisis is a global phenomenon, but it is particularly acute in developed countries, where housing costs are high and income has stagnated. For example, the average rent has increased by more than 38% in the United Kingdom over the last decade, while wages have only risen by about 10%. This has put immense pressure on families, leading to a sharp increase in poverty and homelessness.
One way people are combating the increase in energy bills is by investing in solar panels, the renewable energy system that utilises the sun’s rays as opposed to fossil fuels.
The cost of solar panels
Even in a cost-of-living crisis, domestic solar panel prices have fallen by over 60% in the last ten years, with a typical system for a three-bedroom house costing around £20,000 a decade ago. A new report from the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors indicates that this type of installation ranges between £9,000 and £11,700, and with the ECO experts starting their estimations at £5,000! Installation on a one-bedroom house can start as low as £1,634. The great news is estimations indicate that owners of a solar panel system will save an estimated £534 a year.
The advantages of solar panels
Solar systems generate power from the sun; an energy source we won’t see running out in our lifetime – or a few billion years after. The mining and distribution of fossil fuels damage our environment; by choosing not to use these finite energy sources, you are making a difference that you may not be here to see, but those after us will be grateful for.
The cost of solar panel maintenance?
One of the most common questions is, ‘how long will they last?’ The good news is that solar panels are designed for durability and can last for decades, with an average lifespan of 50 years. Many manufacturers offer warranties of 20 to 25 years. However, it is essential to keep in mind that this can vary depending on the quality of the panels and the environment in which they are used. Additionally, panels exposed to harsh conditions, such as high temperatures and strong winds, may have a shorter lifespan than those used in more moderate climates. With proper care and maintenance, solar panels can provide clean, renewable energy for your home or business for many years. Regular upkeep won’t break the bank either, with the average clean and inspection of your system costing anywhere between £4 and £15 per panel.
Make money selling energy
Through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme, owners of solar PV panels can sell excess energy they generate back to the grid. Yes, you can make money just by owning solar panels. The average three-bedroom house in the UK will make around £120 a year selling their energy back to the grid. With electricity bills rising, the amount you could save when factoring in traditional bill prices could rise to the thousands. With high expenditure and income stagnant, many are looking for ways to save money and make some. One of the most popular options has been the installation of solar panels, with sales recently reported to have reached an all-time high.
Disadvantages of solar panel
Solar panels without the sun?
As much as the weather is an advantage for solar panels, it is also one of the few disadvantages. Cloudy or rainy weather can impact the amount of energy generated especially as Solar power can’t be collected at night; one way people navigate this is by opting for thermodynamic panels or a generator.
Cost of solar panels
Cost can also be restrictive, with such a large lump sum not ideal for everybody, especially during a cost-of-living crisis. A recent survey by raisin highlighted that over 25% of Londoners have less than a thousand pounds in their savings due to many variables, including the current financial squeeze. The price can be offset by selling your energy to the grid. However, with the set-up cost ranging from £1,634, it won’t be an obtainable purchase for the majority of England.
Once you’ve installed your system, you won’t be able to take it with you if you happen to move home. The amount of energy you have access to is also based on the size of your roof and how many panels you can fit. With less space, you will still be able to generate electricity, however, at a lower rate.
Should I invest in solar panels?
Solar panels are a popular choice for environmentally conscious homeowners in the UK. Rightmove’s recent report highlights that over 61% of people would be willing to install Solar Panels on their roof, with over 17% of environmentally conscious homeowners having already done so. However, there are some drawbacks to using solar panels that potential buyers should be aware of. First, installing solar panels can be expensive, and the initial investment may not be recouped for several years. Secondly, solar panels require a sunny location to work effectively, so they may not be suitable for all homes, especially those with north-facing pitches or surrounded by trees. Finally, solar panels can require a lot of maintenance, such as cleaning and snow removal. Although solar panels have some disadvantages, many homeowners feel that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. It is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on energy bills.
The cost-of-living crisis has made it difficult for people to access solar systems; however, with the sales-boosting and energy prices rising, it’s very understandable that hundreds of thousands of Brits are choosing to invest if they can.