Record-breaking summer for solar panels

Written by Lori Campbell on 27th Oct 2023

British households are snubbing rocketing electricity prices and installing solar panels in record numbers.

More than 13,000 solar panels were installed on UK homes in the joint-hottest September on record, according to new analysis by Coventry Building Society.

The average temperature last month hit 15.2°C, making it the hottest September – alongside 2006 – since Met Office records started in 1884.

The number of solar panels installed on homes in 2023 now stands at 128,447. This is already more than the 111,713 solar panels installed throughout the whole of 2022 – a total that was surpassed in August.

It’s great to see more and more people investing in solar panels for their home – it all adds up to help create a more sustainable future.

The number of installations has not been this high since 2015, when the total for the year was 179,137. This was just before a cut on subsidies was introduced in 2016. The highest year on record was 2011, when 200,589 panels were installed – this was following the launch of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme in 2010.

The total number of solar panels on UK homes is now 1,245,621; a 15.2 per cent increase from September 2022, when there were 1,081,291 panels installed.

Sophie Mason, Environmental and Sustainability Lead at Coventry Building Society, said: “It’s great to see more and more people investing in solar panels for their home – it all adds up to help create a more sustainable future. With renewable energy solutions becoming increasingly important to people, we expect this trend to continue – not only do they help the planet, but they offer reduced energy bills, and could add value to your home.

Cost-saving schemes

The upfront cost of installing solar panels can be steep. The average domestic solar panel system of 3.5kW costs around £7,000, according to the Energy Saving Trust. But there are schemes that can help.

Sophie added: “The upfront cost is a potential barrier but it’s important to view it as a long-term investment and remember that there are schemes available which can help. The green mortgage market will continue to evolve because lenders know homeowners need these options, and because working towards a sustainable future is important to us.

“We have over 900 solar panels installed on our head office sites so we’ve seen first hand what a difference they make and, as the UK’s first Building Society to achieve B Corp status, we see it as our responsibility to support others as we all move towards a more sustainable future.”

If solar panels are properly installed, maintained and understood, the technology can pay for itself in as little as four years.

Solar to become main source of energy

The data comes after a new study showed solar energy has reached an “irreversible tipping point” that will see it become the world’s main source of energy by 2050.

Researchers at the University of Exeter and University College London analysed recent technological and economic advances to determine that the transition to clean energy is not just reachable, but inevitable. “The recent progress of renewables means that fossil fuel-dominated projections are no longer realistic,” said Femke Nijsse from the University of Exeter.

Coventry Building Society currently offers customers the chance to borrow additional funds at a lower rate if they are using at least half of the money on energy saving home improvements. The maximum additional borrowing is £25,000, and the deal is available for both residential and Buy to Let customers.

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