SNRG Director of Product Neal Coady busts many of the myths about clean, green, renewable solar.
Only 10% of new build homes in England are fitted with solar panels, compared to 80% in Scotland. Why is this?
Neal: The building regulations went in different directions in Scotland, England and Wales, leading to the disparity.
Scotland increased its net zero standard in 2015.
The Future Homes Standard will improve the situation in England and Wales as they transition to all-electric developments by 2025.
Why don’t more house developers fit solar panels?
Neal: Housing developers are running a business and usually fit the minimum number of solar panels regulated by the government.
Historically, solar energy has not been top of new house buyer concerns, but we are seeing this change with the recent increase in energy prices. Now, many new home buyers expect to see solar panels on the roof.
I think there is concern among housing developers about carbon emissions and climate targets – as long as it doesn’t affect the bottom line.
That’s where SNRG can help, with fully-funded solar panels for each home, eliminating the cost and complexity of installation.
The government is encouraging more use of heat pumps. Should heat pumps be powered by solar?
Neal: Much of the electricity demand in a new home is for heating water, and solar helps with that all year round. Heating is needed more in the winter, where solar power is less plentiful, of course.
That’s where SNRG can help, by optimising the heat pump to consume the least electricity, and create a discounted tariff all year round.
In fact, that’s why many developers come to us, because they are concerned about the cost of running an all-electric home.
Many people still think solar is expensive, but hasn’t the cost of solar panels decreased by 80% in the last decade?
Neal: Yes, that is true, and it’s due to something called the learning curve, that applies to many technologies, such as computers and mobile phones.
They become better and cheaper over time as more and more are made.
Solar power is now much cheaper than electricity from the grid from a residential perspective, as long as you’re able to use it when the sun is shining, or store it for use later.
Are solar panels ugly, and does this cause problems getting planning permission?
Neal: Panels can now form part or all of the roof, and can often look better than roof tiles, giving a smart dark look to the roof without any bracketing, that people often object to. In addition, for any new homes with flat roofs, the solar panels will be invisible from street level.
Integrated roof designs help with planning permission in sensitive areas. Solar tiles look exactly like traditional tiles and tend to be used in areas where there are listed buildings.
So planning permission is no longer a reason to not have solar power.
Are solar panels worth it in the UK?
Neal: Solar panels are great on a sunny day, of course, but they work on light input so they are still good on a bright but cloudy day in spring or autumn.
People tend to think you need a really sunny place like Spain for solar to work well, but in the UK nearly a million homes already have solar, showing it can work well here too.
Contact Neal at [email protected]