As the 25th anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol approaches — a political milestone for the topic of climate change — the subject of environmentalism continues to be prevalent across the UK.
Many Britons are learning to adapt their lifestyles along greener, more eco-friendly lines, and one way they are achieving this is by pursuing sustainable energy options, such as solar power.
The current global energy crisis has led to spiralling fuel costs and has put additional financial strain on many UK households.
The energy price cap was due to rise by a further 80% on 1 October, the second increase in the cap this year, but has temporarily been frozen by the government’s new Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) bill.
This has presented a window for households to consider their energy options. Could a cost-effective option lie in powering your home using solar panels?
Read on to discover how recent developments have affected the state of the current energy crisis, and the potential advantages and disadvantages of installing solar panels on your home.
The EPG has frozen average energy bills for the next six months
The EPG was introduced by Liz Truss during her short tenure as leader of the conservative government to supersede the rising energy price cap and essentially freeze the average UK household energy bill at £2,500 a year for the next two years – although this has now been reduced to the next six months, lasting until April 2023.
The energy price cap limits what consumers pay for each unit of gas or electricity that they use, as well as sets a maximum daily standing charge – that is, the base fee for having your home hooked up to the energy grid.
As the wholesale prices for gas and electricity have soared upwards, so has the energy price cap, as demonstrated by the two graphs below:
The government’s EPG has frozen the unit cost of gas and electricity, which when worked out for an average UK household (using 12,000 kWh of gas and 2,900 kWh of electricity a year) is £2,500.
As the EPG is worked out by unit cost, a larger household may still end up paying more than the £2,500 a year on energy bills, and a smaller, more energy-efficient home may pay less.
The EPG is providing short-term relief but will likely be repaid through future taxes. So, planning ways to reduce your energy costs will only continue to be beneficial for your future.
3 ways installing solar panels in your home is advantageous
As energy prices continue to rise, consumers are considering alternative ways to reduce their energy costs. In fact, MoneyWeek reported that there has been a four-fold increase in solar-panel installations this year compared to 2021.
So, find out why installing solar panels might be useful for you.
1. Your household becomes self-sustainable
Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of the installation costs and set your household up with a solar panel system, you will be able to provide for your households’ energy needs without having to rely on an energy supplier.
According to the EcoExperts, a typical 4 kWh solar set-up comprising of 16 solar panels, will likely yield 3,400 kWh each year. This is greater than the average electricity requirements of a UK home.
You may even be able to help fund the installation with government support through the Green Deal and adjacent grants.
2. You can store energy for later use
Investing in a solar battery for your home can massively improve your set-up by storing unused power for use at a later date, which EON claims can improve your system’s efficiency by up to 30%.
You could even choose to sell any power stored onto energy companies. This is Money details the rates you could potentially receive for your excess power, ranging from 1.5p to 12p for each kWh produced.
While this may seem small, especially compared to the rates energy companies charge for usage themselves, it can add up and provide additional relief to your total energy costs.
3. You are doing your part towards moving away from fossil fuels
Choosing to switch to solar is a step away from traditional fossil fuels. So, for anyone with environmental policies close to their heart, that can be an enormous incentive.
There are even greener methods out there and the production of solar panels does have some environmental downsides.
But ultimately, the eradication of fossil fuel dependence is key to halting the rising effects of climate change.
4 downsides to installing solar panels in your home
Before you choose to install solar panels on your home, you should also consider these downsides first.
1. The upfront costs are considerable
According to GreenMatch, the average 4 kWh UK solar panel system could set you back between £6,000 and £8,000 for the initial installation, with elements such as the solar battery adding thousands more on top.
In addition, to make your home fully self-sustainable you will need to get rid of your dependence on gas and make sure your home is fully electric.
This can lead to expensive renovations to your kitchen and boiler, as well as pushing up your overall electricity usage. In turn, this may mean your solar set-up doesn’t produce enough to meet your energy needs.
2. Solar energy is weather-dependent
Harnessing sunlight for energy can very easily be disrupted by the weather and the changing seasons.
Rainy conditions can limit sunlight, windy days can blow dirt onto the panels, and hail can even cause damage which may require expensive repairs.
The seasons can also affect their efficiency, with the winter months providing less daylight and summer temperatures actually not being ideal for solar panels as they tend to overheat at temperatures over 25 degrees Celsius.
3. They can take up a lot of space and become an eyesore
The panels require a lot of space and can take up anywhere between 29 and 43 square metres of space on your rooftop or along your garden.
Depending on your personal view on how solar panels look, this can have a detrimental effect on the aesthetic of your household.
The panels also need direct sunlight and can’t be in the shade, so positioning is key and the space available on top of your home might not be ideal for them.
4. They are a long-term investment
Solar panels are a costly investment that will save you money in the long term. However, repaying that initial investment through savings could take a long time to achieve.
According to MoneySavingExpert, the breakeven point on an initial investment of around £6,500 on a solar system could be around 11 to 15 years based on figures from the Energy Savings Trust.
Get in touch
Worried about the current energy crisis and how it might affect your long-term goals? Get in touch with us at Atherton York today.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0208 882 2979 to speak to an experienced adviser.