Once marketed as a leading renewable energy source for the UK, the solar energy movement seems to have faded over the past decade. Objections to its viability in a cloudy country such as the UK and its sheer expense made it a favourite of climate campaigners and environmentalists, but rarely the choice of businesses.
However, an incredible reduction in the cost of solar energy installations caused by a surge in manufacturing has made what was once the energy industry’s lost cause into a viable solution to Britain’s energy problems.
In 2011, the government reduced its subsidy for photovoltaic solar energy panels to 21p per kilowatt hour. The drastic change, which cost many housing associations as much as 22.3p per kilowatt hour in lost subsidies, caused a decline in the number of housing associations committing to large-scale solar installations.
New manufacturing, particularly in China, has driven down the cost of solar energy equipment to the point where housing associations are rethinking their decision to pull the plug on solar, often with lucrative results for homeowners.
The cost of solar energy systems has, since the November 2011 cuts, declined more than 50 percent. First Wessex, a housing association located in Hampshire, believes that the low cost of PV systems makes it a profitable investment with huge potential benefits for residents.
First Wessex believes that its solar energy systems, which have been installed on the company’s houses at a cost of £4.3 million, will save residents as much as £150 each year in energy spending. It has forecast 9.3 percent returns on the system and plans to have recouped its investment and repaid creditors within twelve years.
The Hampshire-based housing association is not the only major company to invest in solar energy. Alliance Homes, a housing association based in the South West, has announced that it will install 6,000 solar panels every year on both its own homes and those of its partners in the region.
As the price of solar energy systems continues to decline, analysts believe that more and more UK homeowners will begin to install solar systems in their homes. Despite the decline in costs is roughly the same as the reduction in subsidies, the continuing slide in the upfront cost of installing a solar energy system adds to its appeal.
For the millions of homeowners that were drawn to solar energy before but turned away due to its expense, the huge reduction in pricing could be a major motivating factor in revisiting one of Britain’s best renewable energy sources.
Source : www.solar-install.com