PV returns ‘higher than one month ago’

The sky-high rises in electricity prices by the big energy suppliers this autumn has rendered November’s tiny cuts in Feed-in Tariffs as insignificant and makes the return on investment from solar projects higher than it was a month ago, says Dr. Chris Jardine, technical director, Joju Solar.

The residential feed-in tariff was cut by just over a penny to 15.44p/kWh on November 1 whilst the commercial rate was cut by less than half a penny to 13.1p/kWh.

“We’ve seen a 3.5 per cent cut in feed-in-tariffs on residential and small commercial buildings,” said Dr. Jardine. “But at the same time, we’ve seeing electricity prices rise by as much as 10 per cent in October which more than outweighs the cut in feed-in-tariffs and makes the return on investment from solar projects higher than it was this time last month.”

This autumn has seen huge hikes in gas and electricity prices by five of the “big six” energy suppliers. EDF Energy, for example, has raised energy prices by an average of 10.8 per cent – four times the current rate of inflation.

The rises mean that the average annual household bill is expected to increase more than £100.

“There are two main benefits of owning a solar system. One comes from the Feed-in-Tariff. But the bigger benefit is not buying electricity from one of the big suppliers at rates that are just going up and up,” Dr. Jardine added.

“Almost half Britain’s electricity is generated by burning gas, and the UK’s increasing reliance on gas imports to fuel its generating capacity has placed an upward pressure on electricity prices. TheUKcompetes for gas imports with other large markets that are also increasing their gas consumption.

“The cost of installing photovoltaic systems meanwhile is now cheaper and more cost-effective than it has ever been. The price of many leading brands of solar panels have plummeted by more than 50 per cent over the last two years because of increased competition and a drop in the price of bulk silicon.

“Today, solar PV is the simply cheapest way of supplying electricity to a building.”