Green tariffs now account for many of the cheapest deals on the energy market, despite many consumers still wrongly believing renewable energy deals are more expensive.
Half of the top 10 cheapest tariffs are green ones offered by challenger suppliers taking on the big six.
Outfox the Market, Pure Planet, Bulb, Yorkshire Energy and People’s Energyall offer tariffs at least £267 less and in one case £354 less than the average default tariff offered by the big six, uSwitch found. A year ago just two of the 10 cheapest were green.
Larger suppliers, which had retreated from green energy tariffs in recent years, have also returned to renewables.
Both E.ON and npower now offer fixed green tariffs, though they cost hundreds of pounds more than those offered by smaller rivals. There are now 57 green tariffs, up from 36 a year ago.
A poll for uSwitch found that 42% of consumers still think green tariffs are more expensive than conventional ones, but 38% would consider switching to one.
The survey of 2,000 adults by Opinium showed 29% would pay a premium of £50. However, 30% would not switch to a green tariff because of lack of trust in unfamiliar brands.
uSwitch said the emergence of cheap green deals was driven mostly by smaller suppliers trying to differentiate themselves, and showed they are “no longer an expensive luxury for those who can afford to pay for their principles”.
But the rise of cheap green tariffs has raised concerns in the industry over just how green they are.
The debate hinges on how energy suppliers buy their renewable electricity. Recent entrants have taken a cheaper approach than older green suppliers such as Good Energy, which argues some new suppliers are not encouraging additional windfarms and solar parks.
Johnny Gowdy, a director at Regen, an independent not-for-profit that advises on sustainable energy, called it a “looming greenwash problem” that could undo work done to persuade consumers to switch to green energy.
However, Steven Day, the co-founder of Pure Planet, which launched in 2017, said: “All green energy is certified by the regulator to exactly the same degree and that’s all that matters.”