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Poll results: Should governments be providing better incentives for solar power generation?

16/09/2019
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Solar power is going to play a major part in creating a green future. Well, that’s according to the majority of politicians, policymakers and media commentators. But does this rhetoric match reality? Should governments be providing better incentives for solar power generation? That’s the question we asked EngineeringPro readers last week. Here’s how you responded… 
Are governments providing enough incentives for the installation of PV solar panels?
A firm majority of you (62.50%) voted No – Governments need to be doing more to make investing in solar panels more financially attractive.

Reasons for this swathe of opinion are varied but the lack of subsidies and worthwhile incentives likely sit at the root of this. 

In the UK for example, over one million solar PV installations are now in operation, the majority of which having been installed over the past decade. However, the number of new installations has halved throughout 2017 and 2018, largely due to the removal of government subsidies.

The picture is similar in the US, where President Trump’s recent 30% tariffs on foreign produced solar panels have hurt the industry and led to a decline in sales and installations of solar PV systems. 

So, what is to be done to reinvigorate the number of installations?

Several readers suggested that government could make use of legislation to make domestic solar PV installation effectively mandatory:

“Solar panel roof tiles should be made a building regulation for all new-build homes. The owners can reap the benefit of not paying for their electricity (pro-rata) but the nation would then benefit from clean energy production throughout the day. Energy firms can utilise the “excess” energy and store it (pumped storage etc) during daylight hours, to then be used during hours of darkness.” 

The same reader concluded with a note of scepticism however, saying that “this will never happen, as there is not going to be anybody getting rich from the idea!”
Will a lack of subsidies lead to a decline in domestic solar PV installations?
Not everyone agreed with the proposition that governments should be doing more to incentivise solar.

12.50% of readers voted Yes – The incentives in place should be enough and any problems lie with the technology and companies that provide them.

There is an indication that some of the promises made around domestic solar PV have been overblown and that subsidies – be they sufficient or not – are not the true cause of declining installation. A recent report from the BBC found that thousands of people who bought solar panels in the last few years have since complained to a financial watchdog that they have not seen the savings they were expecting when they installed the panels. 

The remaining votes were for Other (25%) and included a mix of comments both in favour and against government incentives for domestic solar installation.

Have your say


Do you agree with the results of last week’s EngineeringPro Poll? Is the government providing sufficient incentives for solar power? Or does more need to be done? Perhaps you’ve got a unique idea for encouraging homeowners to install solar PV panels? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The best comments, ideas and opinions will be published in this week’s EngineeringPro newsletter.
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Poll results: Should governments be providing better incentives for solar power generation? - Time to read 3 min
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