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30 Jul 2023

What kind of environmental impact could UK-wide solar panel installation provide?

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist

The basics

 Solar panels have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their ability to generate clean, renewable energy. If every household in the UK installed solar panels, the environmental benefits would be significant, as we will delve into during this post. For starters, solar panels produce electricity without emitting any greenhouse gases.

This means that using solar panels would significantly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants that are released into the atmosphere. As a result, the air would be cleaner and healthier to breathe. In addition to reducing pollution, using solar panels would also help to conserve natural resources. Solar energy is a renewable resource, which means that it can be generated indefinitely without depleting the earth’s supply of fossil fuels. This would help to reduce our reliance on non-renewable sources of energy, such as coal and oil, which are finite and will eventually run out.

What kind of transformation could we see?

The Energy Saving Trust state that an average household could save 1.3 – 1.6 tonnes of carbon per year, and provide a calculator to work out an estimate of how much a specific house could save. Given that there are an estimated 25 million homes in the UK, this could result in a saving *an estimated average of 37.5 million tonnes per year for the whole of the UK. In 2021, carbon emissions rose to approximately 341.5 million tonnes, and so if every home in the UK installed solar panels we could see a saving of 11% per year.

For context, the UK transport industry was responsible for around 26% of all carbon emissions in 2021 – showing that UK wide adoption of solar technology could save just under half of the total emissions from transportation for a given year, which is rather substantial.

Benefits to the user

 Another benefit of using solar panels is that they can reduce household energy bills. Because solar panels generate electricity from the sun’s rays, they take advantage of a free source of energy that can be used to power homes and businesses.

Whilst complete independence from the national grid is likely possible, it probably isn’t attainable immediately. However, bills to electricity providers could be significantly reduced and in the long run, this could save households and businesses a significant amount of money.

How many panels are needed to power a typical home?

The number of solar panels required to heat a house will vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size of the house, the climate, and the efficiency of the solar panels. In general, a typical home will need several solar panels to generate enough heat to make a significant difference.

For example, a small home in a temperate climate might need only a six panels, while a large home in a cold climate could require over fourteen to provide adequate heating. It is important to consult with a professional solar installer to determine the exact number of panels needed for your particular situation.

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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