Report: Consumers switch to solar thanks to rising energy bills

Two thirds of UK households benefitting from solar energy say their bills have been significantly reduced since investing in the technology, with most making an average annual saving of ~£1,000. In fact almost 80 percent of generators installed solar panels with reducing energy bills as the primary reason for doing so.

These are the findings from the latest research conducted by uSwitch.com, which questioned 1,391 UK consumers about solar panels in its Consumer Opinion Panel in June this year.

With the Big Six energy providers increasing prices twice in the last year alone many UK consumers are beginning to feel the pinch. uSwitch found that more than a third of households are already finding energy bills unaffordable. However, a total of 70 percent said that they believe solar panels are a good way of lowering energy bills, which is good news for solar installers, who have shown concern over plummeting capacity figures after Government cut feed-in tariff rates on August 1.

Yet that’s not to say that feed-in tariffs aren’t still motivating consumers to switch to solar. More than seven in 10 respondents wanted to make money from the incentive while encouragingly, six in 10 opted for solar technology as they wanted to do their bit for the environment.

Out of those who haven’t installed solar, just over 35 percent think that the technology offers a good return on investment, with 71 percent of those who have already ‘gone green’ in agreement.  More than four in ten of the solar customers also wanted to add value to their property by investing in a system while more than 85 percent said they would recommend the technology to their friends and family.

However, while the majority of survey respondents are pro solar power, 10 percent of those surveyed said installing solar panels is more effort than its worth, and over half of households without solar power said that they haven’t yet invested in a system as they believe the technology is just too expensive.

Kevin Sears, Energy Efficiency Expert at uSwitch.com, explained: “With soaring energy prices and the rising cost of living, households are looking for new ways to cut costs. Solar energy provides a real opportunity to save around £80 a month on energy – something that consumers can’t afford to ignore.

“With over half of households under the impression that solar power is too expensive, consumers should be aware of all the options available.

“I would also urge the Government to better promote the benefits of solar. By doing all they can to ensure UK homeowners are well informed, consumers may become more plugged in to solar and reap the financial rewards.”

This research follows on from a series of ‘selling solar’ pieces published by the Solar Power Portal in recent months. Our research shows that since the feed-in tariff cuts have been announced the industry has responded with a rather negative approach, with 61 percent of readers saying the August 1 cuts will cause another series dip in installs and that many installers would be put out of businesses. Yet, in light of the above, and our research into the power of negative press; the problem the feed-in tariff cuts present can be overcome to an extent with clever marketing campaigns designed to show that there is far more to solar than feed-in tariff payments.

To hear more about how you can transform your business post FiT cuts join us at this year’s Solar Power UK where an entire seminar has been dedicated to business models, marketing and selling solar. Buy your tickets here.