FiTs leaving other renewables ‘out in the cold’, says Savills Energy

Miles Thomas, head of operations, Savills Energy says other technologies have been left out in the cold during the DECC FiT debacle

Speaking to Renewable Energy Installer, Thomas said: “A lot of hot air has been blown over in recent days over the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) ‘unlawful’ handling of its consultation on the Feed in Tariff (FiT) changes, but much of the debate has centred exclusively on the solar industry with  other technologies, such as small-scale wind and AD being left out in the cold.

“It may be that the power is in the lobbying clout  and sheer numbers in the solar industry rather than in the renewables industry as a whole but despite any positive effects this may have for the PV panel manufacturers and distributors in the short term, it is likely to have a negative impact on other forms of alternative power generation when it comes to the equitable distribution of the FiT budget. Indeed, many may suffer from reduced funding availability in the future, including small-scale onshore wind. The Phase 2 consultation will be published by 9th February.”

Thomas added that irrespective of the renewable source, DECC is now seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, continuing the ambiguity and is maintaining a sense of uncertainty at a time when the industry needs clarity and stability.

“Assuming that this is not overturned by the Supreme Court it will mean that customers who installed solar panels that will be registered ahead of the new 3 March cut-off point will receive the original higher tariff rates for 25 years.

“If the industry had struggled to keep up with the vast demand in the lead up to December, then these next five weeks will push the industry to its limits. With installers having slashed their prices since 12 December, the rate of return for domestic and even 50kWp is even higher than before.”

As a business, Savills Energy says it successfully managed to get a large number of installs completed before the December deadline and now plan to install another phase of schemes. “However, the government is trying to dissuade householders from taking advantage of the court ruling because of the impact upon the remaining FiT incentives in light of the distracting glare of negative publicity,” Thomas said.