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Majority of homeowners give solar panels cold shoulder over costs

Samantha Partington
Written By:
Samantha Partington

Solar panels can slash energy bills but installation costs still remain a barrier for the majority of homeowners.

Nearly four out of five households with solar panels say that they have saved money on their energy bills, an average of £264 per year, with some reporting savings of more than £480 per year.

But the upfront cost outweighs the longer-term benefits for the majority of homeowners, according to a survey by insurer Direct Line.

Although the cost of solar panels has declined by 82% between 2010 and 2019, homeowners can still expect to pay between £6,000 to £10,000 to have the energy-saving technology installed, leading to 67% stating they had no plans to go ahead.

Uncertainty over their value and the suitability of their roofs also put homeowners off having solar panels installed.

Despite their unwillingness to invest in the sustainable energy system, 58% of Brits believe that solar panels would make a property more attractive to buy.

Check before installing solar panels

Buyers who are considering purchasing a home with solar panels should check, however, that the panels are included in the sale. Some 44% of respondents thought solar panels would be included in the asking price when in fact they are not typically included within the standard conveyancing list of fixtures and fittings and more than half of homeowners with panels said they would take them to their new home.

Dan Simson, head of Direct Line Home Insurance, said: “The benefits of installing solar panels are clear, from helping homeowners save money on their monthly electricity bills, to decreasing their carbon footprint. However, their price and installation costs remain an obstacle to many. To help overcome this issue, the Government has put several schemes in place that provide funding and support to those who want to install solar panels in their home and meet the eligibility criteria.

“Whilst many people would prefer to buy a home with solar panels installed, our research shows that there is still some confusion about whether solar panels are included as standard when buying a home. If prospective buyers want the solar panels to be included as part of the purchase, we recommend they discuss it with their conveyancer who can request that the panels remain as a condition of the sale.”

Grants and support

ECO4, the Energy Company Obligation 4, is a grant available to low income households for energy efficiency upgrades. Upgrades are fully funded by your energy provider. You can check your eligibity here.

Finance for enegy efficient home improvents can also be obtained through the Government’s Green Deal which can be found here.

Some mortgage lenders, such as Nationwide and Barclays, have begun offering loans or incentives to existing customers who want to improve their home’s Energy Performance Certificate rating. Ask your bank if there are any EPC improvement schemes available.