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Solar panels to boost property prices

With over six months still to go until the introduction of the government's new clean energy cash-back scheme, interest is continuing to grow in domestic renewable energy technologies, according to a major new survey from the Energy Saving Trust.

The survey of 2,700 UK adults, the full results of which are to be released later today, found that half of respondents are interested in finding out whether their home is suitable for renewable energy systems, such as solar panels or micro wind turbines.

Meanwhile, over a third said they would be willing to pay more for a house where some of the energy was supplied by renewable sources, suggesting that those investing in microgeneration systems will be able to recoup some of the cost through increased house prices.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said that the findings were good news for the UK's emerging onsite renewables sector. "It seems Britons are willing to pay more for a home with a renewable energy source so investing in a solar panel or a wind turbine could add to the resale value of a property and be as attractive to house hunters as a new kitchen or solid wood floors," he said.

The survey also confirmed that the high upfront cost of renewable energy systems - the cheapest solar energy systems cost over £3,000 and most technologies take anything between five and 25 years to deliver a return on investment - remains the main barrier to adoption.

However, Sellwood said that homeowners could still access grants from the government to help cover some of the cost, while next year the government's cash-back scheme will be introduced - also known as a feed-in tariff - which will guarantee people a cash payment for the energy they generate.

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