Solar panels: Is the market hotting up? – City A.M.

Tuesday 29 March 2022 8:15 am

Since the energy disaster erupted final 12 months, inflicting dozens of suppliers to break down on the direct expense of hundreds of thousands of UK households, consideration has mainly centered on what the Chancellor can do to additional assist individuals by tough market circumstances.

With Rishi Sunak dipping into the taxpayers pockets for each pricey furlough schemes and hospitality handouts in recent times, it was no shock to see him announce a £9bn rebate scheme following Ofgem’s painful 54 per cent spike within the client worth cap – which is able to see energy payments rise to almost £2,000 per 12 months from April.

He has even revealed to the Treasury Committee in the present day he might intervene additional this autumn – with analysts anticipating one other hefty hike within the worth cap this October.

In his Spring Statement final week, nonetheless, Sunak appeared for the primary time to give attention to how customers might doubtlessly decrease their energy payments by funding decisions to might make their energy utilization extra environment friendly.

This included reducing the 5 per cent VAT charge on home enhancements together with solar panels – with owners doubtlessly benefitting from tax financial savings of as much as £1,000 per 12 months and a potential £300 discount in on energy payments.

Solar energy lags behind wind and pure fuel by way of the nation’s energy combine, however has loved regular progress over the previous decade each on an industrial scale and within the client market.

There at the moment are round a million houses with solar panels – whereas solar energy additionally consists of round six per cent of the UK’s energy combine with over 500 farms dotted throughout the UK.

This has coincided with a drop within the worth of solar panels, with revealing the price of an ordinary 3.5 kilowatt system (which might cowl 25-30 sq. metres of a family roof) has fallen from over £6,000 eight years in the past to underneath £5,000 in the present day.

It now forecasts the breakeven worth for the standard solar panel set-up is round 9 years.

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Analysts sceptical of advantages for low-income households

Steve Buckley, head of knowledge science at Loop stated; “Solar power was already a fantastic choice for households trying to cut back their carbon emissions – a typical set up cuts emissions from energy use by about 1.6 tonnes per 12 months. 

David Bird, funding director Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust, informed City A.M. whereas the newest measures are “welcome”, VAT cuts are unlikely to learn households most in want of assist.

He stated: “If you’re capable of spend money on solar panels and also you’ve bought the best kind of property, then clearly it can save you in your ongoing payments by home consumption of solar. But the people who find themselves going to be hardest hit by the worth will increase are in all probability not the sort of people that can simply afford to go and purchase solar panels and put them on their roofs. “

The funding director additionally famous individuals dwelling in flats or tower blocks in high-density housing areas received’t have roof area for solar panels.

This outlook was broadly shared by energy analyst Andy Mayer on the Institute of Economic Affairs, who argued that with costs elevated as they’re – the VAT minimize was unlikely to make a significant dent in rising prices.

He informed City A.M.: “The main beneficiaries will be those with larger homes and budgets who can well afford five per cent. Many will question the political wisdom of raising VAT on waiters so their customers can enjoy discounted heat pumps for their holiday homes.”  

Justina Miltienyte, energy coverage knowledgeable at, had a extra optimistic tackle the potential advantages of solar power set-ups underneath present funding preparations.

The analyst recognised that whereas solar panels wouldn’t insulate customers from excessive energy worth rises this winter, they might “future-proof” houses and make them much less reliant on market behaviour and power costs.

She stated: “If you can afford the upfront cost, it is certainly worth considering benefiting from the VAT cut and installing solar panels.  More needs to be done to make sure everyone can benefit from these technologies, not just the ones who can afford the upfront costs.”

With the VAT minimize unlikely to offset family payments or lure in lower-income households, the opportunity of solar panels easing value of dwelling pressures this winter is slim.

However, the rising funding incentives and declining costs level to the function the energy supply might play in making certain energy provides are safer and houses extra environment friendly sooner or later.

This might guarantee households are resilient to the subsequent market shocks.

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