There has never been a better time to install solar panels!

With the great British summer on its way, days getting longer and temperatures rising, people are looking at theirs and their neighbour’s roofs again and thinking about investing in solar panels. We here at the Renewable Energy Hub are seeing a boom in visitors researching solar panel investments. Advances in solar technology, increased awareness, hikes in conventional energy prices and ever decreasing initial investment costs for solar PV installs are making that rooftop solar array you have been considering all the more enticing.

Let’s take a closer look at these reasons:

Advances in technology: With more of the world’s attention focused on the advancement of renewable energy sources than ever before, scientists have been working hard to pick out points for potential improvements. Adapting the materials used to make solar panels in order to increase efficiency has seen the most advanced cells currently in existence reach efficiency levels of over 40%. Cells with efficiency levels anywhere near this are still very expensive but as progress is made and new technologies are implemented, especially in the manufacture and use of new materials, cheaper cells are improving. With solar cell and battery technology at the rate it is, it won’t be long before homeowners realise that solar power is not only a good idea but essential, protecting them from rising conventional energy provider’s prices.

Increased awareness: A day doesn’t pass when you will not hear something or see something relating to the renewable energy industry. Renewable energy is big news, every paper you come across will most likely be running at least one story of environmental relevance. You can’t walk down the road without seeing examples of renewable energy systems on the buildings around you, install companies vans passing you and surely everyone has noticed the hike in the price of powering your everyday life and wondered whether savings can be made from renewable energy systems. Well are more people investing in solar and other renewable energy systems? The answer is YES. Earlier this year the solar industry declared that it has now installed over 500,000 systems in the UK. Investment is clean technology has risen from £1bn to £1.6bn here in the UK in 2013, with the UK’s solar PV demand reaching 1.45GW, an increase of 600%. More than 2,000 community projects have now been set up across the country offering grants to those who produce green energy for use in their local area. Solar panel system, and other renewable energy technologies are becoming more and more popular.
Leonie Greene of the Solar Trade Association recently said “Politicians may be fighting about energy and climate change in Westminster, but the public are just getting on with it. ~ A quiet solar revolution has been taking place led by half a million everyday households. Polls show over and over that the public back renewables and they have indeed put their hands in their pockets to prove it.”

Decrease in price: As the graph shows, the price of a solar PV array has dropped considerably over the years. In fact it’s dropped by 80%+, 20% in 2012 alone.

Fall in solar prices chart

Graph showing the fall in solar power prices (installed) and projections of future drops

This is due in the large part to the creation and development of the infrastructure needed to manufacture and deploy the panels. A hugely competitive solar PV market has also helped to drive down costs. Government grants and incentives plus a newly honed supply and deployment system for installers have helped to lower the initial outlay when investing in PV. What this means to you is that the initial costs of installing and maintaining a solar panel array is lower than ever. It is worth noting when looking at this subject that the past couple of years has seen the development of a more mature market and that the price of a residential solar PV array is levelling out leading to a more stable pricing trend. A lot of installers have diversified and now concentrate on other avenues of renewable energy leaving a smaller pool of installers that are able to focus on consumer demand and satisfaction. Site studies, quality of materials and warranty can now be addressed instead of ploughing all the energy into competitive pricing and the corner cutting that goes with it.

When all is said and done, an investment in solar PV has never been so attractive.