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Lack of Info Keeps Britons in the Dark About Renewables' Benefits

 Many United Kingdom residents are interested in adding solar panels and other energy-generating technologies to their homes, but many are also unaware of the cost savings and government incentives related to renewable energy.

In a study of 2,000 British residents, consultancy Gemserv found that 61 percent would consider installing at their home solar photovoltaic panels, air source heat pumps, biomass-fueled heating and, for those with access to flowing water, hydroelectricity setups.

However, about a third weren't sure about how much money they could save or earn from generating their own energy, and 65 percent weren't aware of the government's feed-in tariff program.

Started in April last year, the feed-in tariff program requires energy suppliers to pay households and communities that generate their own electricity from renewable sources. Residents are paid both for energy they generate and consume, and extra energy they generate and sell into the grid.

While that sounds like a problem for the government to deal with by better promoting its incentives, it also offers businesses that sell renewables and other energy-generating systems an idea of how they can gain new customers. 

Companies need to make the possible savings clear and easy for people to understand or calculate, and should relay information about government programs and other incentives that can bring the cost of purchases down or provide ongoing funds, like the feed-in tariff.

Another program that Gemserv found residents are misinformed about is the government's Green Deal. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed didn't know that the Green Deal is related to energy efficiency. The Green Deal includes programs in which residents and businesses can have energy efficiency improvements made for no upfront cost, and pay them off in installments through energy bills.

Fourteen percent of residents instead thought the program was focused on protecting forests, and 9 percent thought it was aimed at increasing the use of hybrid vehicles.


Rooftop solar panel image CC-license by joncallas/Flickr

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