Consumer: ‘Solar panels will give us cheaper energy’

Energy experts say it's time to dump the Big Six model.
Energy experts say it's time to dump the Big Six model.
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New technology such as solar panels and high-tech batteries could give the UK cheaper, cleaner and more secure electricity supplies, a report suggests.

The Government should change policies propping up the “dying” system of the large-scale utilities such as the Big Six, and support new technologies and innovative businesses which are changing the face of power supplies, it urges.

Already, the costs of solar power have fallen rapidly and in countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia and the south-west US, electricity from solar without subsidies is as cheap as power from the grid, the study from think tank IPPR said.

Barclays has estimated that solar systems with batteries to store power for use when the sun is not shining will be as cheap as electricity from the grid for 20 per cent of US electricity consumers within four years.

Even in the UK, Citibank has projected that solar power would reach “grid parity”, when it is as cheap as electricity from the grid, by 2020, the report said.

Will Straw, IPPR associate director, said: “Distributed electricity technologies such as solar power, batteries and smart thermostats, give reason for great optimism but they are being held back by a bias in both policy making and regulation which favours the large-scale utility business model.

“A fundamental change in direction is required.

“It is time to break with the past and embrace the brighter new future that these technologies offer.”

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