Subsidies for solar 22 times less than people think, poll shows

Subsidies for solar power are 22 times less than people think, according to a new YouGov poll commissioned by the Solar Trade Association [1].

On average, respondents with a view estimated that solar accounts for £196 per year – but in reality subsidy for solar only accounts for £9 [2] on an average household bill of £1,300 a year.  The median estimate was £100. Many respondents said they didn’t know.

A survey on wind power [3] earlier this year found that perceptions of the cost of wind were equally high.

Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association said:

“The Government has justified the cuts to solar and renewables on the basis of reducing costs on bills, but hasn’t told people that the cost of getting solar subsidy-free – a breakthrough achievement – is relatively modest.”?

“This survey shows that solar is cheaper than many people think, and that the perception of the cost of solar on bills has become grossly inflated. We need to put this right.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change last week released the results of its own latest opinion poll on public attitudes to energy [4]. The regular opinion poll found yet again that solar is the nation’s favourite source of energy at 80%, higher than every other renewable or conventional energy technology.

In addition a ComRes survey for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) also showed last week that amongst the British public support for renewables subsidies combined was at 83%, and solar in particular has 73% support. [5]

The STA’s poll comes as the Government is due to make its final decision later this year on how much to cut Feed-in Tariff subsidies for solar. The Department of Energy and Climate Change this summer published proposals [6] to slash tariffs by up to 87% and set stringent caps on the maximum amount of solar that can be deployed.

The Solar Trade Association has put forward a ‘£1 emergency solar rescue plan’ [7] which has been backed by 30 MPs from all political parties, including several Conservatives. The plan would only add an extra £1 per year on average household energy bills from 2019 for new solar deployed over the next three years which would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 875,000 homes. This would allow solar to continue in the UK while giving the Government the cost control guarantees it needs.

Notes to Editors

[1] Link to opinion poll on YouGov website. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,716 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st – 2nd November 2015.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
[3] For a similar survey on wind, see here:
[4] DECC’s latest quarterly opinion poll can be found here:
[5] The ECIU/ComRes poll can be found here:
[6] The DECC Feed-in Tariff Review proposals can be found here:
[7] More detail on the Solar Trade Association’s emergency £1 solar rescue plan can be found here:

For further information or to request an interview, please contact:

Name: Sonia Dunlop
Title: Communications and Public Affairs Manager
Tel: 0203 637 2946 or 07970 795 278
Main line: 0203 637 2945

Background on the Solar Trade Association:

The mission of the Solar Trade Association is to empower the UK solar transformation. We are paving the way for solar to deliver the maximum possible share of UK energy by 2030 by enabling a bigger and better solar industry. We represent both solar heat and power, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for solar PV and solar thermal.