Shining a light on solar: not just an energy solution for detached houses with south facing gardens
Solar panels – the public know what they are, but just how much do they really know about them? Surprisingly little, according to research* revealed today by Wienerberger, the UK’s leading provider of wall, roof and landscaping innovations, which is aiming to make installing solar simpler for consumers by launching its new solar panel offering this week.
- 1 in 3 people aspire to have solar panels on their home, however over 40% of people over-estimate the cost of solar panel installation
- Nearly 1 in 5 believe that they can only be fitted on houses with south facing gardens
- Price, cost savings and aesthetic are the most important factors when it comes to considering installing solar
The launch comes at a good time for solar power, with it providing almost a quarter of the country's electricity in June, generating enough energy to power the equivalent of 3.8 million homes. Despite hitting this record high, general knowledge of the technology is relatively lacking according to Wienerberger’s findings, meaning there is even further potential for growth.
The research reveals that the majority of people (92%) were unaware of where to look for information about solar panels, while preconceptions and myths on the technology are rife, which combine to result in widespread confusion about the technology. One in five people are under the impression that planning permission is required prior to installing panels, while a similar number of people believe that panels are only effective when a home’s garden is south facing. This confusion surrounding the technology is one Wienerberger wants to address and is launching a dedicated ‘Solar Made Simple’ site, which can be viewed at www.solar-made-simple.co.uk.
|Solar panels can’t be installed without planning permission||21%|
|You need a south-facing garden to install solar panels||17%|
|More than five panels are needed for them to work||10%|
|They only work in summer months||6%|
|They can’t be installed on terraced houses||4%|
Wienerberger also revealed that, despite a third of people aspiring to have solar panels, many lack knowledge on the subject, particularly when it comes to price and savings. Just under half of those surveyed (41%) overestimated the cost of solar by up to £5,500, with almost 80% of people stating that price was an important factor when making a decision about installing panels – meaning many may feel they are priced out of the market.
|Most important solar factors||Percentage|
|Reduced energy bills||74%|
|Availability of a specialist installer||27%|
|Time to install||17%|
Little thought into saving money
Despite being able to save upwards of £200 per year through switching energy supplier, over 50% of people haven’t changed their supplier in the past year. This is even more prominent in the older generation; where 58% of people aged 55+ have switched in the last year. These findings illustrate that much of the population isn’t engaged with the energy conversation, and are unaware with how much money can be saved - and even made - through utilising initiatives such as feed-in tariffs.
When it comes to attitudes towards solar panels, it’s evident that there is a generational difference. When asked if solar panels are worth the monetary investment, almost half of people aged between 18 and 24 stated yes, whilst only a quarter of those aged over 55 responded positively.
This was also the case when asked whether solar panels on a new home would affect their purchasing decision, with 35% of 18 to 24 year old buyers saying they’d be more likely to purchase a home if it had solar panels, compared to just 27% of those over 55. In addition, 18% of the older generation stated they’d be put off purchasing a home with solar power, as opposed to just 12% for the 18-24 bracket. These findings show that, perhaps due to their eagerness to embrace new and modern technologies, the younger generations are far more engaged with solar power.
Wienerberger’s new offering provides a complete solar solution for all sustainable energy requirements. The full solution comprises of the PC1 model that utilises polycrystalline units for a cost-effective solar panel solution, and the MC1 and MC2 – both monocrystalline unit solutions, meaning Wienerberger is able to offer a solar solution to suit every requirement.
Richard Bishop, Category Marketing Manager for Roof at Wienerberger, commented:
“This research into the understanding and knowledge of solar energy has proven that although people across the UK are interested in energy and how they can make savings, the knowledge of solar as a legitimate option is limited. As part of our all new solar offering, we wanted to understand just how much the British public understands about the technology, along with busting some myths and helping to demonstrate the value solar panels can add.”