Saturday, 11 June 2011

Trying to make sense of it....

Feed-in tariffs cuts cast solar future in a new light

"Skewing the scheme in favour of small systems is reasonable, but important questions remain unanswered."

There were no great surprises in the government review of feed in tariffs. Larger installations are to be discouraged by reduced rates whilst domestic fitments will continue with the current rates.

The Guardian newspaper article (linked above) makes a number of very relevant points. It certainly highlights the ambiguous approach taken by this government in trying to reduce costs whilst attempting to reach carbon emission targets. Less than a year into the FIT scheme the coalition government announced that support for large-scale photovoltaic installations (greater than 50 kW) would be cut.

The energy and climate minister Greg Barker made the comment this week.

Asked how he can reconcile his statements about solar's potential with the cuts to the Fits, Barker replied: "I'd like to be able to be more generous with the large-scale projects, but I've got £860m from the spending review … so the focus of the current scheme needs to be on the small scale, to get the maximum number of installations. But we now need to think creatively about how we can engage commercial-scale solar as a more important part of the energy mix … we've got to find additional pathways – and that means changing the way that solar is perceived in the department."

Those of us who have taken the plunge and installed PV panels on our properties, and perhaps more importantly those who are considering the move deserve a clearer pathway on their investment. All of my research pointed to a 25 year, indexed linked guaranteed scheme.

If FIT’s are to be capped in the future, does this mean that payments will be retrospectively altered, or will existing contracts be honoured?

What do you think? Does the recent review and the potential for change worry you?

Comment now……


  1. Singingshutters8 July 2011 at 14:23

    As a newcomer to PVs (my installation is due next week - July 2011) I was concerned to hear that Western Australia had decided to halve FITs and apply the reduction to existing users! I checked the DECC site and found a Feb 2011 Press Release on the UK review of FITs that says, quite clearly, that
    "The Government will not act retrospectively and any changes to generation tariffs implemented as a result of the review will only affect new entrants into the FITs scheme. Installations which are already accredited for FITs at the time will not be affected." See following link for full document:

  2. Hi Singingshutters.
    You've made me, and probably everyone else who's worried about government retrospective action very happy. Well spotted.
    PS: Good luck with next weeks installation. I'd love to see your output figures once you're up an running.
    Best regards. Ian