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Solar panel electricity systems, also known as photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells. These cells don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances. Any excess electricity generated by the panels can be exported to the grid.

Previously the Government supported domestic solar panels through the Green Deal loan scheme, launched in 2013, and Feed-in Tariffs which provided payments for generating renewable energy, launched in 2010. The Government stopped publicly funding the Green Deal in 2015, and the Feed-in tariff scheme closed at the end of March 2019. From 1 January 2020, a new scheme, known as the Smart Export Guarantee, has required electricity suppliers to offer a tariff for power that solar (and other technology) generators export to the electricity grid.

Solar panels boost the UK’s renewable capacity and can reduce household consumption, and possibly bills, for homeowners with panels. However, there are some common questions and concerns that are raised about solar panel installations that this briefing paper addresses.


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