The Solar Revolution: Is the Government Helping Out?

The Solar Revolution

It’s never been a better time to join the solar revolution. Back in April, the British government released a plan to increase the country’s solar energy capacity five-fold. Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a statement claiming:

‘We’re setting out bold plans to scale up and accelerate affordable, clean and secure energy made in Britain, for Britain – from new nuclear to offshore wind – in the decade ahead.’

Currently, the UK holds a 14GW capacity for solar and produces 4% of the UK’s energy. The government estimates the potential to grow up to 5x by 2035. Our sun provides enough energy each day to produce power for the entire earth 10,000 times. Amidst growing energy bills, a crisis has arisen. Lockdown has seen the shift into hybrid working. More people working from home means higher bills. And the increasing desire to take your energy into your hands in a cheaper, sustainable fashion

How will the government’s plan for a greener Britain affect you and how you use solar?

Sifting through permitted development rights and legal jargon when you’re considering going solar can be exhausting. Solar is taking over. We’re seeing PV panels installed across the UK on domestic homes, commercial offices, and even on churches. But imagine how many more energy-efficient rooftops we’d see if relevant permitted development rights were radically simplified.

Despite the ever-growing expansion of the solar industry, the last time we saw permitted development rights amended in the UK was in 2015. When the allowable threshold for rooftop solar installations was increased from 50kWp to 1MWp. Now the government has promised to consult on development rights in the coming months.

For those of you who have made a home out of a historic house and have faced practical planning barriers, there may be hope for you. With promises to review the barriers homeowners face when installing energy efficiency products, you may be able to keep that historic flare while bringing your energy usage into the 21st century.

What about cost?

Amid surging energy prices and the nagging guilt of switching on your heating or hanging an extra set of fairy lights, solar panels are looking better than ever. Solar panels are guaranteed to cut your energy costs significantly off the bat. But the small obstacle of hefty upfront installation fees is enough to make even the greenest warriors shiver. A government statement made about VAT on domestic solar panels recognised the goal to move from 5% to zero until 2027. It’s a brilliant piece of news that will bring solar to households who may have never considered the possibility.

Boris Johnson has mentioned the increasing benefits of solar power, referring to it as a ‘remarkably cheap and effective’ solution amid promises to ‘modernise our grid and our distribution networks.’ So, let’s shed some solar-powered light on this new information.

In the past, VAT charged on solar panels transformed from a digestible 5% rate to an intricate calculation of 5% or 20%. This was contingent on each customer’s individual circumstances and how the installation fees were broken down. This rise made installation uneconomic and while we watched solar rates rise, rates for fossil fuels remained the same. Cutting VAT to zero not only allows you to bypass consuming calculations but means there’s one less cost to concern yourself with. So you can focus on saving money, rather than spending it.

How much could you save?