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Our rooftop renewables supporter survey: the results

11th January 2024

A survey of over 2,600 CPRE supporters shows widespread support for rooftop solar – both as a government priority and on new homes.

The survey, conducted in November 2023, was designed to give our supporters an opportunity to get their views across on our rooftop solar campaign, and rooftop solar in general.

In total, 95% of respondents felt that the government should take a rooftop-first approach when rolling out solar renewables across the country, while 97% agreed that rooftop solar should be a standard requirement on all new housing.

View or take the survey

The cost barrier

Over half of the respondents said they would like to have solar panels installed on their roof, with 39% saying that they’ve already had them installed. However, over half of the respondents said that cost was the biggest barrier in doing so. With benefits for people and planet, we’re calling for the government to ensure that everyone can access low-cost loans to help cover the upfront cost of the rooftop solar panels that will give us control of our energy supply and help to decarbonise our homes.

Demonstrable benefits, with caveats

Many supporters shared their overwhelmingly positive experiences with rooftop solar on their own homes, citing huge savings (up to 98% a month) since installing solar panels. Some told us that they were surprised how effective they were – even on overcast days, and others said that their solar panels had been placed where the landscape impact was low.

Others haven’t been so lucky. Many told us that they’d love solar panels on their roof, but have been told that the shape or structure of their roof isn’t suitable for solar – despite them being south or west facing. Others have struggled with maintenance, and many told us that the cost of installation was just too high.

Some respondents were concerned about the extractive and non-recyclable elements of solar panels, and that’s why we’re calling for the government to emulate and scale up the work done by non-profits such as The Big Solar Co-op, which is providing ethical, community-led rooftop solar across the country.

Concern for climate change

We know that climate change is the biggest threat to our countryside, but at the same time our countryside has the potential to be our best nature-based solution in climate mitigation.

There was a strong feeling of concern surrounding fossil fuel extraction among our supporters, as well as the negative impacts of climate change being felt in England and across the world. Some told us that they were worried about the world being left to their children and grandchildren, and felt strongly that we needed to quickly decarbonise and switch to renewable energy to offset the very worst impacts of a heating world.

Space for growing

Our report argues that rooftop solar should be a priority for the government in moving towards renewable energy. However, there is concern among our supporters that farmland is being treated as a cash reservoir for solar farm developers, and many agreed that protecting food security was vital in how we approach land use. We know that there are many competing demands on our land, and that’s why we’re calling for a land use strategy to meet the needs of people and planet.

A common sense solution

An overwhelming majority of our supporters strongly believe that we need a rooftop revolution, with many arguing for localised power generation so that clean energy can be distributed within communities where the energy is used.

A rooftop-first approach is the quickest and cheapest pathway towards decarbonisation, and we know that there is enough roof space in the country to meet more than half our solar energy targets while protecting our countryside for farming and wildlife. As part of our election manifesto, we’ll be lobbying government this year to realise the full potential of rooftop solar, and with COP 28 officially signalling an international transition away from fossil fuels, it is time for the government to act.

Sign our petition for a rooftop revolution

Solar panels on rooftops of new housing in Cumbria
John Morrison / Alamy Stock Photo


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