Majority of UK public want to install solar panels, poll finds

Residential solar panels in London. Photograph: In Pictures via Getty

More than half of the British public would install solar panels and home batteries to tackle climate change if there was greater assistance from the government, polling has found.

While many have already made their home more energy efficient, 62% said they wanted to fit solar and a surprisingly high 60% would buy an energy storage device such as those sold by Tesla.

An even greater number – 71% – would join a local energy scheme such as a community windfarm or solar panel collective, according to the YouGov survey.

The results run counter to the government’s approach to climate change and energy, which favours large-scale power generation such as nuclear plants and offshore windfarms.

Community energy projects have flatlined in the face of government subsidy cuts and tax changes, while incentives for household solar will expire next year without a replacement. There is no support for people considering a home battery.

James Thornton, CEO of environmental law group ClientEarth, which commissioned the research, said: “Government policy is plainly at odds with public sentiment – and its own ambition to tackle climate change – as far as our energy sources are concerned.

“People want to know more and take ownership of how they get their energy – that’s clearly demonstrated by the broad support in the poll for household solar and community energy schemes.”

Solar installers have told the Guardian that, increasingly, people are also opting for home batteries when they buy solar.

Energy storage is also making inroads at utility scale. On Monday, water company Anglian Water will announce it has bought a 300 kilowatt hour (kWh) storage system from UK-based firm redT, for use at a water treatment site alongside solar panels.

Solar was ranked the most popular of all energy sources in the ClientEarth survey, while gas was second worst behind coal.

More than two thirds (68%) thought the big six energy suppliers’ market dominance should be broken up to allow smaller clean energy firms to grow. Exactly half said they would move their pensions to avoid fossil fuel investments, a figure that rose to 59% for 18-34 year olds.


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