The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme for solar electricity, which pays homeowners for every unit of electricity they generate, has been labelled ‘unsustainable’ by the government, which has recommended to halve the generous subsidy paid to homeowners for installing solar power from 12 December.
Although the deadline doesn’t come into force until the end of the review period in early 2012, the solar industry has acted on the recommendations and as recent government figures show has managed to install over 40,000 solar PV systems since the release of the review on 31 October. This is more than the summer months combined.
Charles Shilston, director of The Energy Initiative, said: “We have worked hard to guarantee our customers receive the high rate feed-in tariff. In the last week we have installed as many systems as we normally do in a month. We even travelled to Glasgow in blizzard conditions to hand deliver some applications to Scottish Power.”
Commenting on how the industry might change after the recent deadline, Charles said: “The industry has been rocked by the Feed-in Tariff reduction. Solar PV is no longer a vehicle solely for financial reward. Instead, it is now a vehicle for increasing the energy efficiency of your home and should be seen as part of an integrated home energy solution.
We need to prepare now for a time of energy scarcity. The prices of systems are going down, and high quality panels are becoming more affordable. We can’t forget solar PV can cut your electricity bills up to 50 per cent, and combined with other green technologies such as wind power can still earn a healthy return from feed in tariffs. The solar power tariff may have halved, but the sun has not yet set on solar PV.”
Sheffield topped an industry league table for solar power generation in September 2011, adding more solar power per household than any other British city since April 2010.