ANALYSIS of Google search data reveals that searches for ‘solar panels’ exploded 316% above average in March 2022 – the highest level in the past five years. The findings come as the Bank of England has predicted that annual consumer price inflation will hit 6% in April, a 30-year high. In addition, the Resolution Foundation has revealed that an average household’s total energy bill is set to be £2,000 starting from April 2022, while the British government would need to spend over £7 billion to offset the effects of ever-rising energy prices.
The analysis of Google trends data, by insurance experts A-Plan Insurance, reveals that searches for ‘home solar panels’ exploded 488% above the average volume of searches across the past five years, an unprecedented increase in people searching for ‘home solar panels’. This huge spike in interest can be demonstrated below.
The data also reveals that searches for ‘Solar panel grants UK’ exploded 203%. The government did provide a ‘Green Homes Grant’ which would pay up to £10,000 of the cost of installing energy-efficient improvements to your home, however, the applications for the scheme have now closed.
Beginning this year, an ‘Energy Company Obligation’ grant will come into effect, which has seen the government allocate £4 billion towards the installation of solar panels in the UK. Also, Rishi Sunak announced that the VAT for the installation of materials such as solar panels will be now 0% and he has stated that families with this addition to their home, will save over £300 a year on their energy bill.
James Haynes, Branch Manager at A-Plan Insurance, commented on the findings:
“The UK has already dealt with skyrocketing bills over the past few months due to inflation and the soaring costs of wholesale oil. Now, we’re having to face the stark reality of the energy price hike increase in April.
“The energy market is in crisis and the most efficient way to save money is to cut your usage or switch to a more renewable energy source. This analysis shows that residents of the UK are taking on this advice and seeking out solar panels as a switch for fuelling their homes.
“Many households in the UK are balancing their budgets and having to pay even a few pounds – let alone hundreds of pounds – extra could knock them into debt and poverty. According to Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, families with a 3.5 kilowatt-peak system can knock between £170/year and £440/year off of their bills through the use of solar panels. There is also a smart export guarantee scheme that allows households to get paid for any solar energy they generate but do not use.
“It is always a good idea to contact your insurer when you’re making any significant changes, and that includes adding solar panels. Your building insurance should cover these systems, so long as they are installed correctly and according to manufacturer guidelines. Make sure to also check what kind of coverage is included so that there is no confusion further down the road!”
The research was carried out by A-Plan Insurance, which has more than 100 high street branches nationwide. The company, established in the 1960s, provides a personalised service to more than 600,000 clients.