The future is solar

A report by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) demonstrates an upsurge in interest for solar PV among consumers. As we are experiencing a cost-of-living crisis in the UK, and as the deadline for hitting climate targets gets ever-nearer, we examine why solar PV has become such a hot topic.

At HIES, we have been sharing the benefits of renewable energy solutions for many years, and considering a switch to domestic solar energy is something that most homeowners can do to become more energy efficient and save on energy bills. We have seen an upturn in the number of solar PV installations completed by our members, and independent statistics from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) support our own experience.


Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)


The latest data from the MCS, which defines and maintains standards for small-scale domestic renewable energy and heating across the UK, demonstrates a clear indication that more households are turning towards solar to help decarbonise heating and power to their homes. Figures show that 79,560 solar PV installations were completed from January – August 2022, a 30% increase on the whole of 2021. There was also a 144% increase of solar PV installations registered with MCS in August 2002 compared with August 2021. Solar installations represented more than 80% of the renewable installations so far registered with MCS, clearly showing that consumers are recognising the benefits of solar energy for domestic power.


Solar in a nutshell.


Solar panels, also known as photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy and converts it into electricity that you can use in your home. A solar PV panel consists of many cells made from layers of semi-conducting material, most commonly silicon. When light shines on this material a flow of electricity is created. The cells don’t need direct sunlight to work and can work even on cloudy dates. However, the stronger the sun, the more electricity generated.


For most consumers, installing solar panels is an achievable, low-maintenance way of buying into renewable energy and contributing towards the decarbonisation of our homes. Installation involves little disruption and the benefits are seen immediately with lower energy bills. Additionally, as solar panels are predominantly installed on a roof, it doesn’t affect any aspect of internal space of a home.


Will I need permissions to install solar panels?


Solar PV panels in general are considered ‘permitted developments’ and often don’t require planning permission as long as, so far as is practicable, they are sited to minimise their effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area. However, exceptions apply and it’s best to check with your local planning office for guidance. Building Regulations Part 14 covers information regarding planning and solar panels.


If you’re planning to install a solar PV system onto your home, you must register it with your Distribution Network Operator (DNO), although usually your HIES installer will register it for you. The DNO is the company responsible for bringing electricity to your home. The UK Government has advice on how to register your new energy device in England, Scotland and Wales.


Why should I use HIES for my solar panels?


If you’ve decided that solar panels are right for you, your local HIES installer can help and is your next point of contact: Simply visit our website to find out more about solar panels. When choosing a HIES member for your installation, as the homeowner, you will receive all the benefits of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved Consumer Code Scheme. HIES strongly believes that no consumer should ever be left disadvantaged, and we strive to ensure every homeowner is protected before, during and after their installation project. We achieve this by providing vetted and accredited installers, free deposit protection and stage payment protection, free insurance back guarantees, free mediation services and access to an Ombudsman in the unlikely event we are unable to resolve a dispute.


HIES installers have carried out more than 150,000 solar PV installations, and we are proud to have George Clarke as our HIES scheme ambassador.


To find out more about whether solar panels are right for your home, you can read more here.