Up to 60% of Brits who don’t already have solar panels installed on their roof would consider going solar in the next five years, according to research published by Mintel.

The research company quizzed 1,219 UK homeowners to discover consumers’ attitudes towards solar PV. Mintel discovered that, of the 60% willing to install solar in the next five years, 39% of them listed a free solar installation through a ‘rent-a-roof’ scheme as the most attractive option.

Interestingly, 26% stated that they would be interested in part-financing a solar PV install through Green Deal finance despite the industry’s concerns over the high interest rate on Green Deal loans. Finally, just 23% of respondents indicated that they would be willing to purchase a solar PV system outright.

Of the 40% who indicated that they would not install solar in the next five years, 30% believed that their property was not suitable for a solar array. The next most popular reason for not wanting to install solar was concerns over the maintenance and replacement costs of a potential solar array, with 29% expressing concerns. A further 8% understood that due to their absence during the day, PV-generated electricity would not provide them the greatest benefit.

The research identified some key demographic trends within the market, discovering that those with a household income of £50,000 and above are most likely to install solar PV. In addition, Mintel found that those living in Inner & Central London were more likely to install solar. However, this directly contradicts with feed-in tariff installation statistics which show London severely lagging behind other geographic areas in solar adoption.   

UK solar to add 1.7GW in 2015

The research carried out by Mintel also looks at key market trends with a view to predicting future solar deployment in the UK. The research company claims that the UK will experience “strong” growth in 2015, adding 1.7GW of new capacity. Of the new capacity, 40% will be roof-mounted and 60% ground-mounted. Mintel’s predictions are extremely conservative compared to other industry analysts who have predicted that the UK could install as much as 3GW of ground-mount solar just in the first quarter of 2015.

The research company is predicting a steady, if incremental, rise in roof-mounted solar following the government’s announced preference for it in the UK Solar Strategy. Mintel predicts that the UK will install 0.7GW of rooftop solar in 2015, 0.8GW in 2016, 0.8GW in 2017 and 0.9GW in 2018.

Commenting on the research, Claudia Preedy, senior industrial analyst at Mintel, said: “Although the market remains in its infancy, demand for solar panels has exploded since 2010 and there continues to be strong growth potential.”

Preedy continued: “In 2013 and particularly during 2014, there was a shift in focus from roof-top to large-scale ground mounted installations. These policy changes reflect the current government’s desire to see a shift in solar developments from large scale ground-mounted towards mid-scale building-mounted, commercial and industrial onsite generation and domestic deployment.

“Despite frequent changes in government policy and other factors, such as the strong drop in installation costs in recent years, the solar industry has proved resilient and has shown that it can reinvent itself within a changing landscape. The industry is expected to continue to do so in the foreseeable future, even with the uncertainties regarding future government policies.”