It’s no secret. Energy prices have hit a record high. Across the UK, people have been forced to dig deep to afford basic necessities. But how has the market changed? And how much more are we really spending on energy bills?
The last year has been a roller coaster of price increases and previously inconceivable spikes. It’s almost difficult to imagine a time when we didn’t fret about costs, refrain from putting on the heating, or time our showers. But it wasn’t always like this.
Over the last two decades, UK energy prices have tripled. That’s right. Tripled.
Back in 2019, the price comparison site, Compare the Market, examined the breakdown of inflating energy prices, noting the rise of average domestic gas prices by 221% and electricity by 193% over the past 20 years.
They examined these soaring statistics in comparison to the increased cost of other necessities, products, and services. Noting that despite a collective rise, energy prices surpassed all other commodities.
But it wasn’t until 2021 rolled around that energy prices began to fly off the handle. And gas prices, which had always been relatively stable, started to soar; increasing 11-fold since last recorded in 2019.
A History of Solar Energy and Energy Bills
Alongside this rapid inflation, solar prices have plummeted, swiftly increasing in popularity and accessibility. The revolution began in 2010. And by the end of the year, the UK had launched 28,000 solar projects. The industry has ridden a roller coaster of soaring solar projects and turbulent crashes. By 2010, installing a 4kW solar panels system cost around £20,000
The focus on making solar panels affordable enough to incentivise homeowners led to the start of something sensational. In 2010, the introduction of feed-in tariffs caused a solar gold rush of sorts. Households hurried to invest in a solar-powered future. And, in the summer of 2018, it was reported that solar power had tripled over the last year.
Meanwhile, energy bills began to rise as the wholesale price of gas crept steadily higher. 43% of the UK’s gas is used to generate electricity and has increased by 500% since January 2021, causing a mimicking rise in electricity prices. British gas announced, to the dismay of their customers, an 18% rise in the average gas bill and 16% in their electricity. The company blamed the 30% rise on wholesale prices, knowing the statement would affect nine million homes. By the end of the year, government reports informed that the average UK energy bill stood at £1,172.
The price of installing solar had tumbled by 2019. The average cost of installing a 4kW system now stood at £6,856, an absolutely startling drop. Solar was now not only affordable, but the market had developed. Solar was now seen as a feasible option for many homeowners.
The Green Deal had been and gone, the government removed the feed-in tariff on 31st March 2019. But since then, two years of covid have negatively affected the supply chain and shipping costs.
All the while energy bills were on the rise. The price of domestic fuels rose by 3.2% in 2019. Domestic electricity increased by 6.8% and domestic gas rose by only 0.8%. Combined, electricity and gas bills increased by £42 to a total of £1,360. Electricity bills increased by £33, up to an annual total of £705. Gas bills rose by £9 to £655.
These figures have been calculated based on the yearly consumption, which fell to 3,600 kWh in the case of electricity, and 13,600 kWh per year for gas.
This year, the solar market is bigger and better than ever. Solar energy has become a hot commodity.
Why? Because of three simple and salient factors.
The UK has begun to fully understand the environmental benefits, premium range all-black panels saw high demand from the aesthetically conscious, and energy has become seriously, seriously expensive.
The unpalatable rates of energy have forced people to seek out more energy-efficient options. Enquiries for solar panels are now so great, companies are struggling to deal with the influx of interest. With businesses rushing to get their planning applications for commercial rooftop solar pushed through and homeowners desperate to get involved, UK solar installations are threatening to enter gigawatt-level.
Within the first six months of 2022, the UK witnessed an unbelievable 80% growth in solar installations compared to the previous year. The surge has been the most significant in history and there’s still room for more growth.
As we’re all well aware, this year has seen an unprecedented rise in energy bills and a roller coaster of price changes. Expenditure under the Price Cap has been outlined below:
March 2022 – £1,277
April 2022 – September 2022 £1,971
October 2022 – December 2022 £3,549
Energy bill increases have been a source of considerable stress across the UK for some time now. If you’re struggling with bills, visit citizen’s advice to see how they can help.
*There’s never been a better time to take your energy bills into your own hands. As we learn to live in the midst of an energy crisis, gaining energy independence is a surefire way to protect yourself and your future from an unstable market.