Consumers set for solar bonanza, says Eco Environments

Homeowners have been given a short-term window of opportunity to enjoy a solar power “gold rush”.

A Court of Appeal ruling means that any solar PV installations installed, commissioned and registered between December 12 last year and March 3 this year will receive the higher feed-in-tariff rate of 43.3p for the next 25 years.

Customers who register on or after March 3 will qualify for the higher rate until April 1 when it will drop to 21p.

David Hunt, a director with renewable energy company Eco Environments, said: “This is an almighty kick in the teeth for the government, but a fantastic result for consumers who have either gone ahead with an installation since December 12 or are keen to do so now.

“The phones have already started ringing with homeowners keen to cash in on this mini gold rush. Given that the cost of solar PV installations has dropped dramatically since December 12, consumers can now achieve breathtaking returns on investment. In year one the return is 18 per cent, while the average return over 25 years is a staggering 39 per cent if you include inflationary increases in Feed-in Tarif (FiT) payments and electricity price increases. Customers will also be able to enjoy a payback period of just three years.”

The full consultation on the FiT rates for solar and other technologies is due for release on February 9 which should give a clear picture of the rates from April this year and beyond.

David Hunt added: “We would also hope that the consultation will confirm whether or not homes considering an installation from April will need an Energy Performance Certificate of Grade C or above to claim the top FiT payment – or be subject to a much lower rate.

“We trust that after the fiasco of recent months over the introduction of lower FiT rates, the government will heed the warnings of the solar industry and remove the stringent EPC requirement for homes which would price the majority of the population out of even considering an investment in solar technology.”