Shining a light on solar

By Richard Bishop - Category Marketing Manager for Roof

To mark the launch of our all-new solar offering, we’ve been doing a bit of digging to make sure we fully understand people’s knowledge and perceptions of solar technology. Richard Bishop, our Category Marketing Manager for Roof, expands on the findings.   Solar panels – the public know what they are, but just how much do you really know about them? Surprisingly little, according to research1 we’ve commissioned. To mark the launch of our new range of solar solutions, we’ve examined your thoughts and have unveiled our new Solar Made Simple microsite - aimed at educating people on the positives by releasing our new panel offering this week.  
Our launch comes at a good time for solar power, with it providing almost a quarter of the country's electricity in June, generating enough energy to power the equivalent of 3.8 million homes2. Despite hitting this record high, general knowledge of the technology is relatively lacking, meaning there is even further potential for growth.   
Our research reveals that the majority of people (92%) were unaware of where to look for information about solar panels, while preconceptions and myths on the technology are rife, which combine to result in widespread confusion about the benefits. One in five people are under the impression that planning permission is required prior to installing panels, while a similar number of people believe that panels are only effective when a home’s garden is south facing. This confusion is one that we are looking to address in the launch of our dedicated ‘Solar Made Simple’ site, which can be viewed at

Solar myths

21% of people believe solar panels can’t be installed without planning permission 17% of people think you require a south-facing garden to install solar panels 15% of people believe that more than five panels are needed for them to work 6% of people think that they only work in summer months 4% of people think they can’t be installed on terraced houses Our research also revealed that, despite a third of people aspiring to have solar panels, many lack knowledge on the subject, particularly when it comes to price and savings. Just under half of those surveyed (41%) overestimated the cost of solar by up to £5,500, with almost 80% of people stating that price was an important factor when making a decision – meaning many may feel they are priced out of the market.  
Most important solar factors  Percentage of people who feel this is important Price 78% Reduced energy bills 74% Aesthetic 32% Availability of a specialist installer 27% Time to install 17%

Little thought into saving money

Despite being able to save upwards of £200 per year3 through switching energy supplier, over 50% of people haven’t changed their provider in the past year. This is even more prominent in the older generation; where 58% of people aged 55+ have transferred in the last year. Our findings illustrate that much of the population isn’t engaged with the energy conversation, and are unaware about how much money can be saved - and even made - through utilising initiatives such as feed-in tariffs.   

Generational differences

When it comes to attitudes towards solar panels, it’s evident that there is a demographic difference. When asked if solar panels are worth the monetary investment, almost half of people aged between 18 and 24 stated yes, whilst only a quarter of those aged over 55 responded positively. This was also the case when asked whether solar panels on a new home would affect their purchasing decision, with 35% of 18 to 24 year old buyers saying they’d be more likely to purchase a home if it had solar panels, compared to just 27% of those over 55. In addition, 18% of the older generation stated they’d be put off purchasing a home with solar power, as opposed to just 12% for the 18-24 bracket. These findings show that, perhaps due to their eagerness to embrace new and modern technologies, younger people are far more engaged with solar power.   
Our brand new offering provides a complete solar solution for all sustainable energy requirements - comprising both the PC1 model that utilises polycrystalline units, which increase efficiency, and the MC1 and MC2 – featuring monocrystalline, meaning we’re able to provide a solar offering to suit every requirement.    
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1 Based on a survey of 2,000 people in June 2016


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