Solar is now viable even in rainy climes – so why aren’t we making hay?

·1-min read
<span>Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Global Warming Images/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Global Warming Images/Alamy

It may seem unlikely with the dark, rainy skies in many parts over the last month, but solar power is now the cheapest way of generating electricity, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In 30 years solar has gone from the most expensive and an unlikely candidate to help save us from the climate crisis to a frontrunner. Among its great advantages is that panels mostly take only a day to install, the electricity can also provide hot water and the surplus can be stored in a battery for later use. With no moving parts maintenance is minimal.

For householders who can afford to have panels fitted to existing houses, the saving in heating and lighting bills has been enormous, particularly in the last year following the invasion of Ukraine. It also increased the value of their properties.

It therefore remains a puzzle why in England the government is reluctant to require solar panels to be fitted on suitable new homes from 2025 under its “future homes standard”, although final decisions are still awaited. The extra cost for housebuilders would be small and the potential savings for homeowners enormous, also considerably reducing the UK’s need for large new power stations. A large majority of MPs of all parties are in favour, according to a poll, so there is still hope.