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It seems the sun is shining for the solar power market as new research from Mintel finds as many as 60% of UK consumers who do not currently have solar panels installed on the roof of their home would consider having them installed in the next five years. Free solar panels installed through a ‘rent-a-roof’ scheme are proving to be the most popular option, with as many as four in ten (39%) Brits who do not currently have solar panels installed on their home considering this option in the next five years.

Today, of homeowners who have solar panels on the roof of their home, the vast majority (69%) have paid for the panels and installation themselves, whilst 22% have opted for free panels through a ‘rent-a-roof’ scheme. The remaining consumers who would consider solar panels would finance them by personally purchasing solar panels (23%) or using Green Deal finance (26%).

Meanwhile, some 40% of Brits who do not have solar panels on their home would not consider solar panels in the next five years. The key reasons for people not considering having solar panels installed include: they believe their roof is not suited (30%), concern about replacement or maintenance costs (29%) and that they do not plan to be in their current home long enough to benefit from the financial savings they offer (24%).

Only 15% of people are concerned about how solar panels would affect the price of their house, suggesting that this is only a small deterrent, while less than one in ten (8%) said they do not spend enough time in their home during daylight hours to benefit from the daytime electricity generated by these solar panels.

The majority of people (55%) have heard of the government’s ‘Feed-in Tariff’ (FIT) scheme, 50% have heard of ‘rent-a-roof’ schemes, with slightly more people (54%) are aware of the ‘Green Deal’ finance scheme.

Today, of homeowners who have solar panels on the roof of their home, 69% have paid for the panels and installation themselves

Claudia Preedy, Senior Industrial Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Although the market remains in its infancy, demand for solar panels has exploded since 2010 and there continues to be strong growth potential. The market was originally driven by residential roof-top installations, reflecting the introduction of the FIT scheme in April 2010. However, in 2013 and particularly during 2014, there was a shift in focus from roof-top to large-scale ground mounted installations. These policy changes reflect the current government’s desire to see a shift in solar developments from large scale ground-mounted towards mid-scale building-mounted, commercial and industrial onsite generation and domestic deployment.”

Furthermore, Mintel’s research shows that the PV market, in terms of installed capacity, is expected to show strong growth in 2015, at more than 30% to reach 7.1 GW. This is partly driven by buoyant large-scale ground-mounted PV installations during the first quarter, before policy changes take effect in April. Growth is anticipated to be sustained in the following three years, albeit at slightly more moderate levels. Total installed solar PV capacity is anticipated to reach almost 11 GW in 2018.

“Despite frequent changes in government policy and other factors, such as the strong drop in installation costs in recent years, the solar industry has proved resilient and has shown that it can reinvent itself within a changing landscape. The industry is expected to continue to do so in the foreseeable future, even with the uncertainties regarding future government policies.” Claudia concludes.

Press review copies of the Solar Panels, UK 2014 report and interviews with Industrial Analyst, Claudia Preedy, are available on request from the press office.