The UK has set a challenging target stating that by 2020, 15% of the UK’s energy consumption will come from renewable energy sources. In order to accomplish this ambitious goal, the UK needs to multiply the number of high-scale solar panel projects. However, considering the high initial investment needed to install solar panels, the government has to put a lot of efforts into motivating people to invest by offering them benefits and economic incentives.
Apparently, they realised that relying on individual homeowners’ efforts won’t be enough to meet their green energy targets. Good news for people is that the board of Warrington Borough Council has announced £5,25 million capital investment to provide solar photovoltaics to 1,500 properties and three sheltered housing schemes. The project, in partnership with the Golden Gates Housing trust means that tenants will annually save around £233 on their energy bills.
Given that people in the UK have been facing substantial increases on energy bills over the last few years, switching to free solar energy sounds like a good option. This project will enable many houses to acquire solar panels, which at the same time helps the country meet its renewable energy targets. So if the projects works successfully, not only will people be happier with lower energy bills, but also the environment will be pleased with a reduction of carbon emissions.
Who Will Fund the Project and What Do People in the UK Think About It?
The Warrington Borough Council will receive an income to fund the project as part of its capital program. However, as with most decisions regarding considerable investments and green projects, there has been a debate about this solar panel scheme, too. Some people are not content with the idea of building solar farms in the countryside.
In order to run the project successfully, it is essential to pay enough attention to the concerns of local residents and to try reaching an agreement with them. It is important to communicate the benefits of this particular project as well as those of increasing the proportion of renewable energy sources. Local employment, appropriate training and additional related job opportunities are expected to be created with this scheme.
Moreover, investing in solar power brings attached all the benefits of using renewable sources of energy. Once installed, energy generated from the solar system is clean, noiseless, and free. It is also available all year round, even during cloudy and windy days.
What About Other Similar Projects and Incentives?
The Feed-in-Tariffs (FIT) had become quite popular when talking about green energy in the UK. These tariffs mean that you could get money from your energy supplier if you installed an electricity-generating technology from a renewable source like solar panels or wind energy. You could get money for the electricity you generate, if you use it yourself but also if you export your surplus back to the grid. The end of this policy came on the 31st of March 2019.
There is a similar scheme introduced for heat generation that is known as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The scheme is designed to bridge the gap between the cost of fossil fuel heat installations and renewable heat alternatives through financial support to owners. It is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat, and it is integrated by domestic RHI and non-domestic RHI.
With these incentives and some others to come, the UK expects to reach the set targets for 2020. In fact, during 2013 the UK almost doubled its annual installed capacity of solar panels. In that same year it installed more than Italy, becoming together with Germany the main drivers of the European market.
Read more: UK Renewable Energy: Facts & Stats