More Solar Panels in Cornwall town, than anywhere in the UK

A small town in Cornwall, Wadebridge on the Camel estuary, is staking its claim as solar power ‘capital’ of the UK, with nearly 10% of homes in the area powered by solar panels, according to an article on the BBC news website.

We asked EnergyMyWay’s Regional Director for Cornwall, Steve Young why Solar Panels in Cornwall are so popular.

Why are there so many homes with Solar Panels in Cornwall?

Here in Cornwall we have high levels of solar irradiation which means that Solar Panels perform extremely well. When you install Solar Panels you benefit in two ways. The first is the electricity bill savings from using solar energy and the second is the Feed-in Tariff, which pays you for every unit of solar energy your Solar Panels generate, whether you use it or not.

Put simply, the more electricity your Solar Panels make, the more you earn. So, while Solar Panels are an excellent investment everywhere in the UK, they are even better where solar irradiation levels are higher as in Cornwall.

How much do Solar Panels cost and what are the returns for Cornwall homeowners?

Solar Panels are around 50% of the cost they were two or three years ago and this is due to their increasing popularity, so demand has driven the price down. A typical 16 panel (4kW) Solar Panel array costs between £6,000 and £7,000 and will give you a return of approximately £1,000 a year for 20 years in earnings and savings, tax free. That’s a total of £20,000 tax free income as a benefit.

Can you use electricity from Solar Panels at night or only when it’s light?

Another reason why Solar Panels are getting more popular is due to the new Solar batteries that are now available. We are now installing Solar Panels with batteries so that the electricity they generate can be stored and used any time of day. Solar batteries are changing the way homeowners think about Solar Panels because they mean you can use solar energy 24 hours a day, so if you usually run your electric appliances after dark, this is no longer a restriction of your Solar Panels.

Do you need a large South facing roof for Solar Panels?

No, in fact we often fit Solar Panels to East/West facing roofs to make the most of the early hours of sunlight in the morning and the later hours in the evening as the sun rises and sets. Most houses are suitable for Solar Panels, they perform well on roofs facing South, East or West and can be mounted on the ground if the roof space isn’t viable.

Many areas of Cornwall are beautiful. Do you find people don’t like the look of Solar Panels?

Like anything that changes the landscape there will always be some resistance, but many people see Solar Panels as a progression towards more natural resources for our energy and a positive step towards reducing carbon emissions, so they have a good news story attached to them. We are finding the new range of roof-integrated Solar Panels are popular as they lie flush to the roof tiles and are more subtle and streamlined.

Do you think the numbers of Solar Panels in Cornwall are still increasing?

Across the whole of the UK, the number of Solar Panels on domestic roofs is increasing. Here in Cornwall we have seen a huge increase in homes with Solar Panels and there are a lot more to come. The Feed-in Tariff, which is designed to offer generous returns for people choosing to install Solar Panels, is still alive and well, Solar Panels are more affordable and solar batteries mean you can use even more of the free solar electricity you generate.  I don’t think we have even scratched the surface.

For more information on Solar Panels in Cornwall or anywhere else in the UK, contact EnergyMyWay

Call 0845 371 3181, or complete our contact form.


James Eades

By: James Eades

Operations Director, James Eades is EnergyMyWay's in-house expert on renewable energy policy, microgeneration technologies and best practice in the renewable energy industry.