Why more needs to be done to increase awareness of renewable energy technologies

Tue 10th Mar 2015 - 10:29am Energy and Heating Why more needs to be done to increase awareness of renewable energy technologies

Benjamin Clarke

A recent survey of 1,000 homeowners has provided an incredible insight into why people are not installing renewable technologies as enthusiastically as hoped. The survey revealed there were three main reasons for this:

1. 46% said they could not afford the initial outlay required to purchase and install renewable technologies.

2. 46% did not know enough about renewable technologies.

3. 21% felt that the return on investment would not be enough to make installation worthwhile.

The survey results also highlighted the fact that a lot of people are simply unaware that there is financial assistance available, in the form of the Renewable Heat Incentive, to many wishing to embrace and install these technologies.

Only 35% showed any awareness at all of the RHI scheme, with 14% saying they have heard the term RHI but know nothing about it, 10%don’t fully understand it, 8% understand but haven’t done anything about it, while only 4% have actually applied.

Although these figures show an alarming lack of awareness about the financial options available for installing renewable technologies, it’s not all doom and gloom. A sizeable 61% have heard of at least one of the following: ground source heat pumps, solar PV, hybrid heating systems or air-to-water heat pumps.

53% said they are most aware of heat pumps over any other renewable product, while 42% said solar thermal and 31% said solar PV. 25% were familiar with hybrid systems, the combination of a boiler and renewable energy.

Also encouraging is that 5% of people surveyed plan to install a piece of renewable technology within the next 12 months, while a further 8% plan to do it at some point in the future.

Of the people who have fitted some sort of renewable technology, 54% either received financial assistance from, or applied for, the Renewable Heat Incentive. It seems that among the people who are aware and fully understanding of the RHI scheme, the reaction is pretty positive. 42% felt it was a good idea, 24% felt it would encourage people to take up renewable energy technologies and 17% felt it would fundamentally change the way homes in the UK are heated in the future.

This survey has shown itself to be an important piece of research. It highlights the fact that homeowners are mainly concerned about the financial implications of installing renewable energy products, but are really lacking in knowledge about financial-assistance schemes like the RHI.
With people who are aware of the RHI, it has a very positive reaction, but actually letting people know this scheme actually exists really shows the need for manufacturers and heating installers to work harder in getting the information out.

With more testimonials, case studies, site visits and demo equipment, the message will hopefully be more successful in getting through to UK homeowners that renewable energy products are worth the investment and there is financial help available to greatly assist with the initial cost of installation.

Article by Benjamin Clarke

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