Skip to main content
Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

YouGen press release

Interest shifts from solar panels to renewable heat as renewable energy website celebrates one million visits

Posted on 31 October 2013 at 12:06 pm

Heat pumps and biomass boilers have overtaken solar PV as the most popular pages on YouGen as homeowners’ interest in energy efficiency continues to grow. With visitor numbers up 43% year on year, YouGen had it’s millionth visit in October.

“With four of the big six energy companies raising their prices by an average of 9% again this year, it’s not surprising that people are interested in taking measures that help them claw back control of their energy bills,” says Cathy Debenham, founder of YouGen.

“Two years ago virtually all our visitors were interested in generating electricity with solar panels, and that was the focus of most of the questions they asked. Now, page views for solar electricity are down to nearly a quarter of what they were in 2011. Most of the questions we get about solar PV now are from people who have already installed it and want to learn about ways to use more of the electricity at home – either by using it to heat water, or by storing it for use in the evening.

While interest in solar panels has fallen, people are more interested in heat pumps and biomass boilers with visits to those pages nearly doubling since 2011.

“As the cost of space and water heating makes up the greatest percentage of most people’s energy bills, and with the launch of the domestic renewable heat incentive next year, we expect interest to continue to grow,” adds Cathy. “Now is a really good time to install a renewable heating system. All eligible installations will get the renewable heat incentive* when it starts next year, and people who install before the end of March 2014 will get an upfront grant to help with the installation cost.”

YouGen aims to provide very practical information to help people improve the energy efficiency of their home, and reduce their energy bills. Recent blog posts on the site include:

New solar thermal calculation for renewable heat incentive increases returns 

What happens to the feed-in tariff if I switch energy supplier? 

Will solar panels affect the warranty on my new build home? 

How good a deal are solar panels from IKEA?

Will solar panels affect the sale of my house?

How to choose internal solid wall insulation

How to choose low energy light bulbs

How to find a recommended installer on YouGen 

Notes for Editors

1. YouGen is an independent website which aims to help people make informed decisions about which renewable energy and energy saving measures are right for their home, and find an installer they can trust. Founder Cathy Debenham noticed the need for it when renovating her new home in 2005, she found it almost impossible to get the answers she needed to choose between the very different quotes she was getting.

2. *The renewable heat incentive is a government incentive to encourage people who live off the gas grid to switch to renewable forms of heating system such as solar water heating, biomass boiler, air- or ground-source heat pump. Its aim is to even out the capital and running cost differences between heating with oil and heating with renewable technologies. It will be paid quarterly based on renewable heat generated over seven years.

For more information:

How the renewable heat incentive works

Renewable heat incentive FAQs

3. The upfront grant mentioned above is the renewable heat premium payment.

Rates are:

Solar Thermal - £600/unit
Air Source Heat Pumps - £1,300/unit
Biomass boilers - £2,000/unit
Ground Source Heat Pumps - £2,300/unit

This amount will be deducted from renewable heat incentive payments over its 7 year life.

Go back