Millions of homes in the UK could have solar panels installed by 2020, according to a new report by Imperial College London.

The study found that on sunny days, solar power could generate as much as 40 per cent of the energy needed in the UK.

Imperial College London said that by 2020, as many as ten million UK properties could have solar panels installed, changing the way people pay for their energy forever. However, recent data shows that only half a million homes in the UK currently have solar panels fitted.

Ajay Gambhir from the university stated that by 2030, the cost of solar ought to be comparable to that of even the least efficient forms of coal and of gas.

Greg Barker, the energy minister, is known to be a keen supporter of solar power and he recently told the Daily Telegraph that people ought to consider investing in solar panels as a way to support themselves in their retirement.

In an interview with the newspaper, Mr Barker stated that solar power is a better investment than some pensions due to the fact that government figures show typical rates of return on domestic solar panels are between five and eight per cent a year.

"Solar is a really attractive financial proposition. You get a guaranteed tariff for 20 years and if your panel is well-sited, it could yield eight per cent or more. That is more than an annuity, particularly if you are in your 50s or early 60s," he said.

Mr Barker stated that people who are thinking about retiring should "seriously consider whether solar panels are right for them".

Data released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change shows that the typical domestic installation costs around £4,500, which is compared with £13,000 in 2010.

Members of the public are also able to access loans through the government's Green Deal scheme in order to pay for solar panels and other upgrades to their homes such as energy efficiency improvements.

Heating oil users who have solar panels can use them to reduce energy bills, which can help as they are otherwise at the mercy of the crude oil market prices.

11 February 2014 Boiler Juice

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