Why the popularity of solar energy has recently grown in the UK - thumbnail image

Why the popularity of solar energy has recently grown in the UK

The popularity of solar energy in the UK has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2021, the UK expanded its solar capacity by 730MW – 36% more than in 2020, when 538MW was added. The 2021 figure includes 369MW of rooftop solar – the highest amount since 2015. Overall, the UK’s solar PV capacity now totals 14.6GW – 5.3% higher than in 2020. 

Chris Hewett, chief executive of the non-profit organisation Solar Energy UK, commented in words quoted by edie: “2021 was the year the UK’s solar industry came of age. We are now seeing stable, sustained growth across the sector, with order books overflowing.” So, why are we seeing a sudden increase in the popularity of solar energy?

Energy prices have increased as the cost-of-living crisis bites

You have likely already felt the pinch in terms of your own expenditure on energy. In February 2022, it was revealed that the UK energy regulator’s energy price cap would rise by 54%, sending the average annual bill for domestic electricity and heating soaring from £1,277 to £1,971.

As gas energy prices have gone up, the alternative of solar energy has unsurprisingly become more appealing. WIRED cites the instance of aviation engineer John Topham – who, in March, ordered 20 solar panels and three wall-mounted batteries to use with them. 

On sunny days, the installed panels produced enough electricity for Topham’s household appliances and left enough energy spare for storing in the batteries. This enabled him to dip into stores of surplus energy on evenings when electricity demand and prices peaked. 

Climate anxiety is also a factor

Hewett has remarked that more consumers are choosing solar “because they know it is a proven way to cut their energy bills and carbon emissions. It is also a cheap way to charge EVs and decarbonise heating.” 

As a solar PV installer, we are well aware of all of this. Indeed, if you arrange for us to install a solar PV system at your home, you can rest assured that, even if you generate more solar power than you strictly need, the excess energy can simply be saved for later or returned to the National Grid. Hence, not a drop of the energy you generate has to go to waste. 

Solar PV can help to make homes more energy efficient

The UK has some of the world’s oldest housing stock, with many residences relying on poor insulation and inefficient heating systems. 

It’s therefore relatively unsurprising that almost a quarter of homeowners intend to make energy efficiency improvements in the next year. As revealed in a survey detailed by Solar Power Portal, 13% of respondents said that they would consider a solar installation. 

This is up from 5% the year prior – but, if renters could influence their landlords’ decisions about energy efficiency measures, solar PV would be even more popular. Of the renters participating in the survey, 61% expressed a preference for solar PV. 

In comparison, double glazing and energy-efficient lighting were popular with, respectively, 53% and 39% of the renters. This might not be too surprising when you consider how solar can help households to lower the expense of their energy bills by up to 70%.  

Contact Thrift Energy

Start saving on your energy bills today – fill out the contact form below and our energy saving experts will be in touch.

    Your Details

    Services Required

    Household Details
    Type of occupancy
    Type of property
    No. of rooms

    Your Address

    Lastly, where did you hear about us?