UK survey: More would invest in solar if they knew the financial benefits


"If there was more publicity surrounding the financial benefits of solar energy, more people may be willing to invest," said a spokesman for The Eco Experts, a U.K. solar panel price comparison website.

The Eco Experts claim solar panel systems offer a return on investment (ROI) of 7 to 10%, a figure much higher than the savings rates offered by high street banks and which just under a third of the survey’s respondents described as acceptable.

However only 32% of respondents correctly answered that this was the figure offered by solar with half of those who said 7 to 10% was an acceptable return believing photovoltaics offered far less.

Reza Shaybani, chairman of the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) commented, "There should be teamwork between the government and renewables industry. The government sets the policy and provides infrastructure, but they can’t do all the work for businesses."

He added, "The reasons most people should be interested in solar photovoltaic is the generous ROI, it is true that feed-in-tariffs have dropped, but so has the cost of a panel, and installing it. People should also be looking to ensure they have secure supply of energy and of course renewable energy is so much better for the environment than using fossil fuels."

The survey found residents of Manchester, Bristol and London were best informed about the correct ROI from photovoltaics with 11% of those surveyed believing solar offered 0 to 2% ROI, 26% guessing 3 to 6% and an optimistic one-in-ten expecting a return of more than 20% on photovoltaic installations.

"Here we have a potential sixth of the market who are interested in an ROI of 7-10 percent but have no idea solar PV can provide it," added the spokesman for The Eco Experts. "We also saw that more than 50% of people wanted an ROI of 11% or more. This is something that may well happen in the future as the cost of photovoltaics comes down and conventional energy bills increase.

"Again, if there was more publicity about this, we could well see more interest in the renewables market."

Edited by Max Hall.