The number of solar panel systems installed at UK properties leaped by 10 per cent — 110,000 — ahead of last month's energy price hikes, new analysis by Savills reveals.
The year to the end of September saw the highest uptake in small-scale solar panel systems for five years as UK homeowners took action faced with the prospect of energy price rises of 70 per cent.
Britain's privately-owned housing stock is largely made up of drafty period properties, with 85 per cent of pre-war homes in England holding an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of D or lower according to Savills' head of research Lucian Cook.
“Retrofitting our outdated housing stock is the key to ensuring that the sector can make a positive contribution to the UK’s net zero by 2025 target," said Mr Cook.
"Insulation dominates the measures undertaken under initiatives under the Green Homes Grant, in line with the “Fabric First” approach propounded by the Government. But, owners of older homes are also increasingly looking at their source of energy."
Savills research of its client base shows that homeowners remain more likely to install a more efficient boiler than install fossil fuel-free alternatives. But, when it comes to those fossil-free options, solar is coming out on top.
In March this year, in his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak announced that VAT on the installation of energy-saving materials in homes would be cut from five per cent to zero until 1 April 2027.
Mr Sunak said in the Spring Statement: “A family having a solar panel installed will see tax savings worth over £1,000 and savings on their energy bill of over £300 per year.”
Solar panels come with a high initial cost of between £4,000 and £8,000 but the incentives for installing the panels include reduced electricity bills and a lower carbon footprint — with any extra electricity generated then sold back to energy suppliers.
Other energy-saving materials now exempt from the five per cent VAT for homeowners include heat pumps and home insulation.