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Could fitting solar panels add £1,800 to the value of your house?

Voice Of EU



As the country is coming to terms with an energy crisis and households with soaring bills, interest in home-produced power is bound to escalate.

With soaring wholesale gas costs potentially nearly doubling the average household energy bill over the next year, many will turn to solar panels as a method of mitigating rising costs.

But homeowners must check how much they could realistically save before installing solar panels – as the actual figure can vary dramatically. 

Having solar panels installed could add £1,800 to a property's value, according to new data

Having solar panels installed could add £1,800 to a property’s value, according to new data

Trade body Solar Energy UK believes the systems could save homeowners £330 a year off their energy bills.

Moreover, it claims adding solar panels could increase a home’s sale price by around £1,800 – or nearly half of the up-front installation cost. 

Here, we explain the impact of solar panels and outline some of the considerations homeowners need to make before going ahead. 

Are solar panels vital to reaching net zero by 2050?

Solar Energy UK is urging financial service providers to put more green finance products on the market to meet the likely increased future demand.

It believes the demand will rise as the UK adopts electric heating and transport, such as heat pumps and electric vehicles. 

Its report found demand was already high, with 33 per cent of people saying solar panels were their third biggest home improvement priority after the kitchen and bathroom, and replacing windows. 

This increased among young homeowners: of 18 to 30-year-olds, 52 per cent cited it as number three on their list. 

This desire for solar power was perhaps unsurprising, given 72 per cent of homeowners felt that the environmental impact of their home was important.

The report also included recommendations to maximise the contribution residential solar systems can make to decarbonising the UK economy.

Solar Energy UK called on financial institutions to develop and bring to market consumer finance and green mortgage products that rewarded investment in properties which include solar.  

Some 46 per cent of homeowners said that if a new consumer finance product, such as a green mortgage, meant they could install a solar energy system without any upfront payment, they would be likely to get one.

This reached 71 per cent for those in higher socio-economic groups. 

The trade body is also asking the Government to create a level tax playing field for solar; encourage the development of new consumer financing initiatives; and develop green retrofit programmes.

It said increasing the uptake of solar power would be ‘a vital measure’ if the UK was to meet its target of achieving a net zero economy by 2050.

Chris Hewett, CEO of Solar Energy UK, said: ‘The UK stands on the brink of a home energy revolution. There is a powerful investment case for residential solar.

Solar Energy UK believe installing solar panels could save homes on their energy bills

Solar Energy UK believe installing solar panels could save homes on their energy bills

‘Bringing new green finance products to the market – and recognising the value of solar homes – will help unlock millions of affordable energy projects for home owners and occupiers around the country.

‘Taking swift action on this will help the UK move towards net zero a way that is good for consumers, good for the climate, and good for the UK’s solar power industry, which is ready and willing to deliver.

‘The return on investment makes upgrading a home with solar power system an easy and simple way to lower a property’s running costs and increase its value, while also, crucially, reducing its environmental impact.’ 

Households should think carefully before they agree to have solar panels installed at home

Households should think carefully before they agree to have solar panels installed at home 

What you need to consider before installation  

However, there are a number of things people need to carefully consider before committing to installing solar panels. 

Cost One of the main considerations is how much it costs to install the panels.

They often range into the thousands to install, and cannot be moved – so if you are planning to move home anytime soon, you will likely not benefit financially from having them fitted. 

It is possible to get a quote from suppliers, but prices vary dependent on how many panels you will need. However, it is possible to get money back on your investment.  

Many have been able to take advantage of the feed-In tariff scheme, whereby they get payments from their energy supplier if they generate their own electricity – but this stopped taking applications for new members in March 2020. 

In its place there is now the Smart Export Guarantee, which works in a similar way. 

Licensed electricity suppliers must offer a tariff and make payment to small-scale low-carbon generators for electricity exported to the National Grid, providing certain criteria are met. 

If you get panels fitted, it is a good idea to sign up to this scheme.  

Is your home appropriate? You will also need to consider whether you are even able to have a solar panels installed on your home, as not all properties are suitable. 

Whilst in most cases you won’t need planning permission, you will need to ensure you have enough space to fit them.

If you don’t have room for them on your roof, you could install an outbuilding to house the panels.  

The current guidance provided by the Government says an outbuilding should be single storey, with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and a maximum overall height of 4 metres, and a dual-pitched roof.

Anything more than that would require planning permission. 

Is your roof strong enough? The roof will need to be strong enough to hold the panels, and there needs to be enough space to house the inverter – the component that converts the direct current produced by your panels into ready-to-use alternating current. 

The condition of the roof itself should also be inspected to ensure that it is safe enough to hold the panels. 

Some solar panels firms offer free inspections which may be worthwhile before you commit to having them fitted.  

If households do decide to get panels fitted, they should ensure the work is carried out by professionals and remember to tell their home insurer. 

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Rent inflation at the highest level for 14 years, says Zoopla

Voice Of EU



Tenants are under increasing financial strain as new figures show average asking rents have jumped to almost £1,000 a year.

Zoopla found that average asking rents now stand at £995 a month, up £88 a month compared to the start of the pandemic.

But the average rent in London is £1,698, up £73 since the start of the pandemic, more than two years ago. It equates to £20,376 for a year’s tenancy.

It is an increase of 11 per cent, the highest rate of growth in 14 years – and represents a strong bounce back from last year when average rents were down by more than 1 per cent.

The average rent in London is £1,698 a month - and this two-bed flat in North West London is for rent for just under that amount at £1,500 a month via New Circle Estate lettings agents

The average rent in London is £1,698 a month – and this two-bed flat in North West London is for rent for just under that amount at £1,500 a month via New Circle Estate lettings agents

The rise has led to a significant increase in the proportion of gross income spent on rent.

This is particularly the case in London where it has risen to a significant 52 per cent for a single earner, a level not seen since March 2020.

It falls to 26 per cent for sharers and means that a new let agreed for an average rent in London will cost more than £20,000 in rent during the next 12 months.

It is evidence of increasing pressure on tenants who are already dealing with the backdrop of the cost of living crisis.

The average rent in Britain now accounts for more than a third of gross income, at 37 per cent, for a single earner.

Around a third of renters live alone, according to the English Housing Survey.

avg monthly rent increase
since Mar 2020
as % of avg
monthly earnings
S West £127 5%
Wales £93 4%
E Mids £93 4%
N West £82 3%
Y & H £81 3%
Eastern £95 4%
S East £98 3%
W Mids £78 3%
N East £65 3%
London £73 2%
Scotland £41 2%
UK £88 3%
Source: Zoopla             

There has also been a strong bounce back in rental growth in London from falls of 10 per cent seen last year.

Average annual rental growth in the Capital rose to 15 per cent at the end of the first three months of this year, driven by demand for flats from students, office workers and international demand.

Demand for rental property continues to outpace supply across the country, according to Zoopla.

This is pushing up rents, although the rate of rental growth will slow through the second half of the year, the property website added.

More affordable rents are available in Great Yarmouth, where this two-bed terrace house is for rent for £600 a month via Your Move lettings agents

More affordable rents are available in Great Yarmouth, where this two-bed terrace house is for rent for £600 a month via Your Move lettings agents 

With tenants facing increased pressure on their disposable income, there has been a marked increase in tenants deciding to stay in their rental property for longer.

Typically tenants are staying in their rental properties for an extra five months compared to five years ago, with the average tenancy length up to 75 weeks, from 51 weeks at the start of 2017.

This trend has extended beyond lockdowns when the ability to move was hampered, and Zoopla suggested this indicates that landlords with existing tenants may not be raising rents at the same rate as rental growth.

Rental demand is strongest in Scotland, Wales and London, with demand levels more than 65 per cent above the five-year average.

London’s market is also one of the most constrained when it comes to stock levels, with homes available to rent at just over half the 5-year average, creating the conditions for the sharp rises in rents.

Some parts of Somerset offer more affordable rents, with this two-bed terrace house in Martock for rent for £795 a month via Martin & Co lettings agents

Some parts of Somerset offer more affordable rents, with this two-bed terrace house in Martock for rent for £795 a month via Martin & Co lettings agents

The rental market remains highly localised, with the most affordable rental markets for dual earners located in more rural areas.

These include Great Yarmouth in the East of England, South Somerset in the South West and North East Lincolnshire in Yorkshire & the Humber.

In these markets, average rents account for up to 15 per cent of joint gross income.

In London, Bromley is the most affordable rental market, where average rents account for 19 per cent of joint gross income.

In the North West, Copeland, a local authority on the edge of the Lake District, encompassing the towns of Whitehaven and Cleator Moor is the most affordable rental market.

Gráinne Gilmore, of Zoopla, said: ‘Rental growth is being driven by high rental demand and limited supply, trends that are more pronounced in city centres.

‘The surge of post-pandemic pent-up rental demand will normalise through the coming months however, which means rental growth levels will start to ease.

‘Affordability considerations will also start to put a limit on further rental growth although this may occur at different times depending on location.

‘Rents are likely to continue rising for longer in areas that have the most constrained stock levels – currently London, Scotland and the South West.’

Gareth Atkins, of Foxtons, said: ‘The tenancy renewal numbers we have seen so far in 2022 are unprecedented.

‘Steadily increasing demand, severely limited stock and a swift rise in rental prices are all compelling reasons to renew – and renters are responding.

‘We have seen a 29 per cent rise in renewals year-on-year verses 2021. Renters are also choosing longer tenancies to avoid a market in flux; our deal length for renewals has gone up 9 per cent in 2022, reaching an average tenancy of 15.7 months.’

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Deal to move NMH will go to Cabinet unchanged, says Taoiseach

Voice Of EU



The deal for moving the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) to the St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin 4, campus is set to be approved by Cabinet on Tuesday.

The agreement is unchanged following a fortnight of intense debate over the ownership and ethos of the new hospital.

The plans to move the NMH from Holles Street to the Elm Park campus were brought before Cabinet by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly two weeks ago but a decision was deferred amid concern from some Fine Gael and Green Ministers at the proposals.

After scrutiny and reassurances on the deal over the last fortnight these concerns are said to be allayed and Cabinet is expected to sign off on the plan.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that the deal to move the NMH will go to Cabinet unchanged. He reiterated assurances that “all lawful services will be provided by the new hospital”.

In April, the Religious Sisters of Charity transferred its shareholding in St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG) to another entity, St Vincent’s Holdings, which will lease the land on which it is proposed to building the new NMH for 299 years.

There are fears in some quarters that potential lingering religious influence could mean abortions or fertility treatment would not be allowed to take place at the new hospital. Questions have also been raised about why the land is not being sold or gifted to the State.

Such concerns have been dismissed by the Government and the hospital’s supporters in the medical community.

There had been suggestions in recent days that a codicil or addendum could be added to the agreement to clarify wording related to “clinically appropriate” services in the agreement for the new NMH.

Backbenchers in Fine Gael and Neasa Hourigan of the Green Party were seeking such clarifications. Critics of the NMH move have raised concern at the phrase being included in the agreement amid fears it potentially dilutes the range of services that will be available at the hospital.

However, there will be no codicil or addendum added to the agreement going before Cabinet on Tuesday.

The Irish Times understands that Cabinet Ministers will be told that “clinically appropriate” merely means that the full range of legally permissible procedures in the areas of maternity care and gynaecology should take place at the new NMH, rather than services provided in other kinds of hospitals like cardiac or orthopaedic surgery.

Ministers are also expected to hear that Mr Donnelly will ask the clinical director of the National Women and Infants Health Programme, Dr Cliona Murphy, to bring forward proposals on the establishment of a new Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.

Separately, SVHG chairman James Menton gave an explanation to the Oireachtas Health Committee on why it does not want to part with the land at its Elm Park campus.

He argued that having two landowners and two separate hospitals on the campus would “present significant risks to patient care”.

Mr Menton also told the committee that the April 2022 transfer of the nuns’ shareholding to another entity “was the last formal step in reaching the board’s objective of becoming a truly secular organisation free of any religious influence”.

On Monday, Ms Hourigan called on the Government to “pause” the decision. She told The Irish Times she is still considering whether or not to back a Sinn Féin motion pushing for the hospital be built on public land that is due to be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday.

SVHG has provided assurances to Ministers that procedures like terminations and voluntary sterilisations will take place at the new NMH.

One of the chief opponents of the move, former master of Holles Street Hospital Dr Peter Boylan, argued that that the words used in the assurance provided by SVHG are “ambiguous”. He also said side letters like the one sent to the Government by SVHG “have no legal standing if the procedures are not explicitly written into the legal documents”.

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Oxford Properties and Novaxia to invest €1bn in French life sciences market

Voice Of EU



Oxford Properties Group and Novaxia have entered into a long-term strategic partnership to invest in and, primarily, develop a much needed new supply of life science real estate in France. Novaxia will act as development manager and co-asset manager alongside Oxford with the Partnership targeting approximately €1bn of investment over the next few years.


The fast growth of France’s life sciences sector has accelerated further following the COVID-19 pandemic, and become a key priority for the French government. Still, there is a critical lack of specialist technical real estate infrastructure to support this growth. The Partnership aims to bring forward new supply of space to help meet that demand and is already in active discussions with local regulators. It will announce its first investments in the near future, which are focused on the development of lab and research centres for biotech and medtech companies.


The first phase of the Partnership’s investment activity will focus on Paris, which is experiencing an acute supply shortage of lab and life sciences incubator space. Paris attracts 80% of all biotech venture capital funding in France, which doubled between 2020 and 2021 to €1.6bn and is expected to underpin growing demand for life sciences space. The Partnership will invest across France and is exploring other emerging markets such as Lyon and Strasbourg.


Joachim Azan, President and founder of Novaxia, said: “Novaxia is opening up to partnerships and breaking new ground by adding another string to its urban recycling bow. Following housing, Novaxia will recycle obsolete buildings into places of innovation in the life sciences. Following on from the project to install one of the largest incubators in Europe at the Hotel-Dieu Paris, Novaxia is developing the means to deploy suitable sites for the entire life sciences value chain throughout France (research laboratories, incubators, accelerators and production plants). Real estate will thus be the starting point for scientific innovation so that France retains its best researchers, its best companies and strengthens its scientific sovereignty.”


Pierre Leocadio, Head of Investment, Europe at Oxford Properties, commented: “Building a global life sciences business of scale remains one of Oxford’s highest priority investment strategies and France is one of our strongest conviction markets in Europe for growth. Having undertaken significant investment into strategic life science markets in North America and UK in recent years, our sights are firmly set on replicating those successes in France. Historically, France has been at the forefront of R&D in the fields of medicine and pharmaceuticals, it is, therefore, well-positioned to maintain this leadership position as technology continues to disrupt and accelerate new innovations in this sector. It boasts leading academic institutions, university hospitals and research institutes, plus robust access to financing—particularly from venture capital funds. We are aiming to invest approximately €1bn over the next few years to create highly-technical real estate infrastructure which can support the country’s fast-growing biotech and medtech industries. Alongside Novaxia, we want to be a leader in life sciences real estate investment in France. Powered by a shared vision, we have moved quickly to identify and evaluate several potential life science sites that are adaptable to the wide range of uses required by a rapidly growing life sciences ecosystem.”


Aude Landy-Berkowitz, Executive Director of Novaxia Developpement explained: “The development of Life Sciences requires a suitable real estate that meets the technical needs and uses of a community. Real estate in France today is not designed with this in mind. For example, there is a significant lack of L1 to L3 type laboratories and their development requires specific expertise. There are multiple and specific needs for water, air, overhead room or even in safety. This partnership will work on their future-proofed design and operating modes, imagining reversibility between laboratory and office. We will develop a real estate that is complementary and synergistic, adaptable with closed and shared spaces in the service of research and innovation. This partnership is a tremendous step forward for the Life Sciences community in France. The need is urgent, and we need to be able to develop innovation and research hubs that offer a real-estate pathway from small start-ups to large enterprises.”


Abby Shapiro, Senior Vice President & Head of Office, Retail and Life Sciences, Europe at Oxford Properties, added: “This strategic partnership with Novaxia will enable us to develop a large scale, dedicated life sciences portfolio in France. Novaxia has an excellent track record in real estate investment and development, taking a responsible and innovative approach to each of their projects, underpinned by a deep understanding of local market needs. Through this partnership, we will look to capitalise on our complementary skill sets. Oxford has a committed and permanent source of capital as well as a global viewpoint on best practices within the life sciences sector. Combined with Novaxia’s deep local market knowledge and relationships with local life science firms and key stakeholders, we believe we can offer a compelling solution to deliver the critically needed real estate infrastructure to help ensure France remains a leader in life sciences.”


Antoine Papiernik, Chairman & Managing Partner of Sofinnova, a world leader in investment in life sciences firms (start-ups, SMEs and ETIs) commented: “Novaxia and Oxford’s partnership confirms France as a key hub of the future for developing biotech and medtech innovations, and positions the country as a leader in Europe. This exciting partnership will grow the number of cutting-edge firms in France, allowing the country to reach the scale needed to attract much-needed international investment.”

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