Despite a substantial cut, announced by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in May, solar industry chiefs are remaining positive and insist that solar panels are still a good investment.

From yesterday anyone installing solar panels will receive 16p per kilowatt hour of electricity generated, compared with 21p previously, and will receive the subsidy for 20 years instead of the 25-year duration that was formerly available.

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Despite that cut, households and businesses installing the panels can still make a return on investment of about 9 per cent, which is better than domestic customers receive from most banks or standard investment opportunities.

Paul Barwell, chief excecutive of the Solar Trade Association, told the Guardian, “Our figures show that solar is a no-brainer investment. Compared to the returns you can get these days in banks and many other investments, solar provides a very solid and attractive return.”

Andrew Lee, general manager for solar at Sharp, which makes solar panels in the UK, said the subsidies fall was broadly being matched by reductions in the cost of production of panels.

He predicted that in future the subsidies would not be needed as the price drop would be on par with fossil fuel generation. “We will maintain a dialogue with the government to continue moving solar forward and instill confidence in the sector. The UK solar market has been through a turbulent 18 months but, through innovating and adapting, the industry is well placed to grow,” he said.

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