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Official figures confirm nearly half-a-million homes are now solar powered

Latest data from DECC on PV installations reveals that nearly 460,000 homes across the UK now have solar panels and together the households have a combined peak capacity of 1.3GW, making domestic solar the largest sub-sector of the solar market.

The figures show that nearly half a million UK homes are now much less exposed to the frustrations expressed by MPs this week to the 'Big 6' energy bosses, over large and unpredictable energy bill increases.

Due to massive international production volumes and major efficiencies achieved by the UK industry, the cost of installing solar has dropped exceptionally fast. When the Feed-In Tariff scheme began in 2010 domestic solar panels attracted 43p for every unit of power they generated. Today domestic solar attracts a much lower 14.9p/kWh - a massive drop of 65% in 3 years, yet returns remain steady.

The Solar Trade Association's 'calculator' shows that homes installing a 4kW(p) system today could expect returns of around 12% and payback within 8 years.

STA CEO Paul Barwell said; "Barely a day goes past without widespread anger about ever-rising energy bills. Nearly half a million UK homes are now much less exposed to frustrating energy bill rises because they have chosen to go solar. It's a particularly clever choice right now because the returns are excellent. People who are fed up with their energy supplier could do no better than to switch to supplying themselves with solar power on their roof.

“The more people that invest in solar power today, the quicker the price comes down tomorrow. We need to keep going down this path until solar power is cheaper than retail electricity prices and everyone can have access to cheap, green power and stable energy bills.

“Renewables are now giving the customer the real option to switch away from environmentally damaging and increasingly scarce fossil-fuels. The old energy sources are running out and putting our future at risk - switch to solar."

Research shows that the majority of people who invest in solar power are motivated to make efficiency changes to their homes and change the way they use energy, saving more money.

The Solar Trade Association wants to see 1 million solar roofs across the UK achieved in 2015. At current installation rates, around 100,000 solar pv systems are being installed in the UK every year. If this market could be doubled the 1 million home milestone could be achieved in 2015. The more solar panels are installed, the faster the price of solar falls, along with FIT support.

The Solar Trade Association says it is confident domestic solar will be able to compete with retail electricity prices by the end of the decade. Thereafter all UK consumers will have the choice to self-supply more cheaply than buying power off the grid. The Feed-In Tariff, which supports solar power, makes a modest draw on energy bills at £7 per household this year.

The STA is developing its own online platform to share its expertise on solar with the public. YourRoof.Info provides practical expert advice about going solar and includes the STA's 'calculator' so householders can estimate their returns from investing in solar today.

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