Survey results published today by Sharp Solar highlight that almost three quarters (71 percent) of UK homeowners do not know how much the feed-in tariff (FiT) is costing the average household. These results come out just days before Government’s proposal to cut the FiT rate by as much as 50 percent takes effect, a move which DECC cited as necessary due to the increasing cost of PV incentives to UK homeowners.

Sharp Solar’s research, which was conducted by YouGov between November 25 – 28, 2011, found that 27 percent of respondents believe households are paying much more to support the FiT than is actually the case, with responses from those surveyed ranging from £12 to over £1,200 per year. These figures are alarming when it is considered that official figures released by the Government confirm that the current cost to every household energy bill is more like £1.40 per year.

Andrew Lee, Head of International Sales at Sharp Solar said: “This research clearly underlines the general lack of awareness amongst UK energy bill payers. This is hampering consumers, businesses and the Government from making a rational, informed choice about the most appropriate rate at which to set the tariff. The FiT needs to be more flexible and intelligent to respond to the solar panel (PV) price reductions but these ill-informed cuts will stop the industry dead in its tracks and undo the years of good work that has been invested in skills, infrastructure and businesses.”

The survey results also demonstrate that while solar is UK homeowners’ favoured FiT supported technology, many are put off installing a system as a result of the cut proposals. A total of 40 percent of survey respondents said they would prefer to see more domestic solar power in their community. However, despite its popularity, solar PV’s progress in the UK is being hampered by the proposed FiT cuts as over half (55 percent) of  homeowners with their own roof that had previously considered installing solar panels over the last 18 months said they are now less likely to do so following the cut announcement.

“If set correctly, this FiT provides a scenario that’s beneficial for all parties concerned; cutting carbon and energy bills for the homeowners that install PV and supporting an industry that creates jobs and tax revenues for the Government,” continued Lee.

“Sharp fully supports measured reductions in the FiT rates and we have made constructive representations to DECC in this regard. By adopting a more considered approach, household costs to supporting the FiT would be between £2.60 and £3.60 a year – a fraction compared to increases in rates of conventional energy. Crucially, it would give all concerned a clear and accurate direction as to the cost of this mechanic to UK homeowners.”

The total sample size for the survey was 2,009 adults, of which 1,209 were homeowners who have their own roof. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).