All four of the UK’s major trade associations representing the domestic solar industry are joining forces to spread the message that photovoltaics are still viable.
The British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA), Micropower Council (MPC), Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Solar Trade Association (STA) are concerned that the public may be confused about the benefits of solar photovoltaics in the wake of the cut to feed-in tariffs (FITs).
After a prolonged appeal – and a delay of its introduction – the UK government halved the rate of FITs for domestic installations 4 kW from 43.3p/kW to just 21p/kW. From the summer, the FIT will be subject to further decreases depending upon costs and demand.
The government maintains that falling costs and rising demand for solar installations risked draining the FIT scheme’s budget.
Since the start of the scheme two years ago, over 250,000 domestic solar power systems have been installed totalling 1.3 GW of capacity.
But according to the latest figures, demand is now stagnating despite the fact that the FIT still offers a return of around 8% for homeowners, tax-free, index-linked and guaranteed for 25 years.
Solar industry associations are keen to point out that because of the drastically falling costs – a 4 kW system now costs around £9000 as opposed to £15,000 a year ago – photovoltaics are one of the best investments around. And they also protect homeowners from rising energy bills, while contributing to the drive towards a low carbon economy and the country’s energy security.
“With gas and electricity prices on the rise yet again, returns for today’s investors in solar power are likely to be better than expected,” says the REA’s chief executive Gaynor Hartnell. “By the end of this decade, solar energy costs are expected to fall to the point where it costs the same to generate your own power as it does to buy it from the grid.”
And although the government have placed on the restriction that only homes with an energy performance rating of ‘D’ or above can receive the FIT, around half of UK homes do have adequate insulation to meet the requirement.
“There is no financial explanation for the low installation levels we’re currently seeing,” says Paul Barwell, chief executive of the STA. “The main reason seems to be a lack of clear information for the public – an informational deficit which industry is today seeking to redress.”
UK solar sales slump in wake of feed-in tariff cut (4-May)
10:10 calls on schools to ‘crowd-source’ funds for solar panels (1-May)
UK government loses Supreme Court case against solar feed-in tariffs (26-Mar)
UK government feed-in tariff reform puts microgeneration at risk (10-Feb)
Article source: http://www.energyefficiencynews.com/i/5100/