'Rent-a-roof’ schemes are fueling the demand. Here's how that works: Companies install the system free in return for pocketing payments for the surplus energy that is fed into the National Grid.
So far, seven out of ten homeowners have invested and only a fifth used the 'rent-a-roof' scheme.
Yesterday, I read about the completion of two floating solar power plants capable of providing electricity for 1,000 homes in Japan. The nation doubled its solar power capacity within two years of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, and is now a world leader in solar power along with China and the US. Physicists continue research on floating nuclear power plant designs using ocean water to cool the reactor in the event of an emergency. Reservoirs are also an ideal location because the panels produce shade, which reduces water evaporation and promotes algae growth.
UK solar power almost doubled in the last year, with 650,000 installations ranging from solar farms to panels on homes. However, a large fire at Hove Town Hall yesterday is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in solar panels on the roof. There's always a chance of something going wrong.
Germany gets only about as much sunshine as the state of Alaska, but Germans have successfully installed about 25 gigawatts of solar power– half of the entire world’s supply.
In the US, Portland, Oregon is known for its rainy, dreary winters, gets as much sunshine as the average U.S. city. Slightly cool weather is an advantage for solar panels because of the electronics inside. In a city with extreme summer heat, solar is a little less efficient, which is part of the reason why solar panels in cloudy San Francisco can actually produce more power over a year than the slightly sunnier, hotter city of Sacramento.
I dread to think what our power bill will be this year here in Hertfordshire, England. My husband has lost so much weight with his illness that he needs a heated environment to stop shivering, and turns the gas fire on every night, despite the Spring temperature rise. Although I'd jump at the chance, we couldn't rent-a-roof because a nationwide Housing Association owns our property. Just imagine the headache they would have keeping track of all their households' comings and goings.
How about you? Do you think solar panels are the future? Would you consider installing them?