Manufacturer calls Greener Home Price Guide misleading after it claims cost of solar panels would take 200 years to recoup

The Greener Home Price Guide published by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has been slammed as being misleading and inaccurate.

The Guide was published to provide advice on the cost, energy saving, payback period, and disruptiveness of green improvements to domestic properties. However, Kevin Brennan, head of sustainability for Velux, has criticised the guide for using simplistic calculations to calculate the return on investment in green technologies and for failing to take into account rising fuel prices.

“The general consumer understanding of renewable energy in the UK is at a premature and vulnerable stage, so it is extremely important that any information put out in the public domain is accurate and reliable,” says Brennan.

“When referring to the installation of solar panels in particular, the guide fails to clarify which exact technology it is reporting on. There is a considerable difference between photovoltaic technology, which converts sunlight directly into electricity, and solar thermal technology, which uses solar collectors to harness the sun’s energy and directly heat water within the home, yet the guide has failed to note the difference.”

In the Guide RICS says that it would take 200 years for homeowners to recoup the cost of installing solar panels through lower energy bills and that they would save just £24 a year from the panels which cost between £4,000 and £5,000 to install.

Brennan says RICS has failed to take into consideration rising energy costs when calculating its “ridiculously” low, annual saving of £24 from solar panels. “Expecting the price consumers pay to fuel their home to remain constant over the 208 year payback period is totally unrealistic and further highlights the guide’s failings,” he said.