GUILDFORD, United Kingdom — As the push away from environmentally harmful fossil fuels continues, more and more households are choosing to install solar panels. Homeowners aren’t just doing this to save the planet, but also to hopefully save themselves some money in energy costs. Now, researchers from the University of Surrey report that many households could break even on this green investment by as early as 2027.
The research team discovered that there has been a steady decline over the past decade or so in terms of the costs and returns associated with investing in solar panel systems overall, as well as among individual homeowners – regardless of the size of their system. More specifically, in 2021, large-scale photovoltaic systems were cheaper than wholesale electricity with prices at $64 per megawatt hour (1,000 kilowatts of electricity generated per hour), in comparison to $187 MWh for smaller systems.
“The findings of this study will aid the UK’s focus on reaching its net-zero targets by 2050 for many parties including homeowners, solar developers, the construction industry and Government offices. The promise of these investments breaking even or making electricity 40-50% cheaper by 2035 is something that can’t be ignored,” says Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey, in a media release.
“With these findings the research encourages Government support for solar energy developers with preferential benefits to include low-interest rate loans on land or simpler suitable land purchases.”
Scroll down to see 6 tips to lower your energy bill
Despite a wealth of readily available solar resources, a figure from 2019 indicates solar electricity only accounts for about three percent of the global market. The biggest factor driving such slow adoption appears to be high installation costs.
“As the cost-of-living increases and the world focus is on climate change and decarbonization, it is great news for many to hear a once costly investment will not only help deliver greener energy, but also at a lower cost,” concludes Dr. Filip Mandys from the Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (RILSA). “By offering more supportive initiatives, solar energy can grow more competitively and address the UK’s energy needs while providing a promising sustainable and affordable electricity solution.”
The study is published in the journal Patterns.
How can you lower your energy bill today?
Energy company Con Edison often sends out tips to its customers on how they can cut their home energy bills — especially during the hot summer months when air conditioning bills typically skyrocket. Here are a few of their tips for keep costs down in 2023:
- Lower your thermostat: The power company says each degree over 68°F on cooler nights can increase your energy usage by three percent.
- Consider a cold wash: Switching the temperature setting from hot to cold while washing clothes can cut energy use in half for a single laundry load.
- Make your refrigerator run more efficiently: Cleaning the coils each year and setting the temperature to 38°F helps to conserve energy.
- Keep ducts and vents clean: The power company notes that heating systems run more efficiently and may even last longer when there’s less dust present.
- Swap out your shades seasonally: Light-colored window coverings reflect the Sun’s energy, while darker ones absorb it and release heat.
Use your dishwasher wisely: Con Edison recommends running full loads, avoiding special cycles, and air-drying clean dishes.