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UK Solar Panel Demand Jumps as Households Brace for Bleak Winter


Demand for solar panel installation is soaring as British households seek to soften the blow from higher energy bills this winter.

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Demand for solar panel installation is soaring as British households seek to soften the blow from higher energy bills this winter.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent wholesale gas prices surging, worsening an energy crunch that could push millions into fuel poverty. On Friday, industry regulator Ofgem raised the cap on energy prices to a record £3,549 ($4,181) beginning Oct. 1, with further increases expected in January and April. That’s increasing demand for solar panels.

“The wait time is about two to three months; going back a few months ago, it was only a month,” said Jez Brinklow, owner of Alfreton Electrics, an electrical company based in Derbyshire, England. “It’s all about saving money.”

The deployment of new capacity is taking place at a record pace, according to Solar Energy UK, an industry association. In the second quarter of this year, 95 megawatts was fitted to residential rooftops, almost triple the year-earlier period.

While the price of small-scale solar installations of 2 to 5 kilowatts has increased by as much as 15% to about £1,684 over the past year, the payback time for that investment is shrinking as energy bills soar.

Explainer: What’s the UK Energy Price Cap and Why Is It Rising?: QuickTake

A desire to shift to more sustainable energy is also pushing British households to switch to solar. 

Croydon-based PSC Electrical says that demand can be “overwhelming” for its team of 10 electricians, with wait times swelling to two months from a couple of weeks earlier in the year.



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