That the Great British public is regularly at odds with the government should come as little surprise. From Brexit to this year’s snap general election via perennial protests against proposed cuts to the NHS and public services, Brits often find themselves in direct opposition to Parliament.
So on the occasion of the fourth Solar Independence Day it should be glaringly obvious that, in a year when government support for solar has dwindled to barely anything, public backing of the technology has never been higher.
The Solar Trade Association (STA) today reeled-off a series of eye-catching statistics – many of which are the government’s own – that highlight the broad appeal and growing spread of solar power. Namely, 86% of the public back solar, which is a figure harvested from government department BEIS’s Energy and Climate Change Public Attitude Tracker.
Further pertinent PV data shows that solar supplied 6.5% of the U.K.’s electricity in June; 880,000 U.K. homes have solar power installed, as do more than 40,000 businesses, 1,000 schools and a quarter of all farmers. BEIS data reveals that the U.K.’s solar footprint is now 12.3 GW, which is spread across almost one million installations.
“Since the first Solar Independence Day in 2014, solar power capacity has grown nearly three-fold,” said STA’s head of external affairs Leonie Greene. “Our message today is that solar delivers real energy independence and the power to act on climate change to people, communities and organisations everywhere and, indeed, to the U.K. itself.”
To mark the occasion a number of STA members will be publicizing their solar prowess today. MyGridGB will live-tweet the U.K.’s solar output today, which is expected to reach 4 GW by lunchtime, meeting 11% of electricity supply.
Also published today is a survey by energy giant E.ON that suggests solar is the most popular smart home choice among British homeowners. A survey of 2,000 energy consumers found that 44% would opt for solar panels in an effort to make their home more energy efficient and smarter.
However, the survey also found that certain myths surrounding solar power persist. Of those questioned, 17% mistakenly believe that solar panels only generate power in sunny conditions, while 11% believe that they do not work at all in cold climates.
One in ten of those polled already have solar panels installed, and of those some 76% said that they have seen a positive reduction in their electricity bills, while 30% said that the value of their home has noticeably risen since installing solar panels.
Four in ten solar customers polled by E.ON also said that the addition of a home storage battery would make a property more attractive.
“Many of the people we spoke to are already aware of the benefits solar and battery systems can bring – from saving money, to having a more energy efficient home, to making homes more appealing to buyers,” said E.ON’s head of commercial solutions Gavin Stokes.