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The future of fuel poverty and solar energy | Sussex

The future of fuel poverty and solar energy

Energy poverty in the UK is becoming more prevalent due to spending cuts. As the Guardian reported in November of last year, under a new government scheme, no gas boilers had been repaired since April to help combat fuel poverty, for those who were most vulnerable. Mike Foster, the chief executive of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, which represents boiler manufacturers, said: “The upcoming budget must address this worrying gap in support.”

It appears now, more than ever, that a solution is needed to bridge the gap in fuel poverty and address the use of energy. According to Which? companies are now creating solar panels that link to a home battery, so that the energy can be stored for a later time. Perhaps this will allow solar panels to become a more accessible and viable option.

Nicollete Fox, a Research Fellow from the University of Sussex’s internationally recognised Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) , has studied the effectiveness of solar panels in reducing energy consumption and fuel poverty. Her research focused on the impact the solar panels had on domestic life, finances and well-being of the families who took part in the study. The solar panels changed the families’ routines and attitudes towards reducing energy use. This has provided evidence-based insights to three UK authorities, helping them to improve their solar PV roll-out programmes.

If implementing solar panels causes an array of benefits, it raises the question of how can we integrate them as a common feature in society to eradicate fuel poverty?

If you are interested in sustainable energy systems, find out more about our Energy Policy MSc (online) course.