After energy bills surged, more homeowners are weighing solar panel power. But does it pay off?

In 2010, Dr Adrian Penney, a GP in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, decided to find a new, creative and green use for his children’s premium bond money.

Having been “dead keen on insulation for years”, the 68-year-old installed 2.4 kilowatt peak (kWp) worth of solar photovoltaics — better known as solar panels — as a way to increase the energy efficiency of his properties and set a good example to his community.

He took the savings he made on his bills and ploughed that amount back into his children’s premium bonds. But the green aspect of the installation was just as important to him. “As a GP, being seen to be doing it could give others confidence that it’s a reasonable thing to do.”

Like Penney, many people who look into installing solar panel power are motivated by environmental concerns. But a surge in energy bills following the start of the war in Ukraine led more households to consider them — along with other energy-saving measures such as insulation and double glazing.

Solar Panel Power saving pound coins (Image: Tanjent/Dall-E)

According to MCS, a renewable energy certification scheme, 183,000 solar installations were carried out in 2023, up one-third from the previous year. Panels have become steadily more efficient, along with the large batteries often used to store and release energy from the system.

Read more: FinancialTimes