Friday 24 July 2015

Not much time left for the Solar Feed in Tariff?

Small commercial Solar
After new money saving measures announced by Amber Rudd on behalf of the Government over the past few days, renewables have been hit quite hard and are calculated to end solar PV funding as soon as possible. This will rid the Government of what
is now considered a funding headache. With the Green Deal, and other green funding knocked on the head, will small scale solar PV systems be next on the chopping block?...

If the Government can knock Solar FiT on the head, then most of this money will simply be flipped over to subsidise Nuclear power. More power for the National Grid needs to be found somewhere! Some years ago I noticed that in Gov press releases, Nuclear became renamed as a 'low carbon' power source. It can be seen as such, with a high health risk and a very hard to dispose of end product.. When operating correctly, in that squeakily fine balance between high efficiency and disaster, nuclear will provide a lot of power on a small geographic footprint, 24 hours a day... With a very low operational carbon footprint and extremely high operational cost. All to be funded by diverting our money from elsewhere.

Going back to Feed in Tariffs though.. When on April 1st 2016 the large scale ROC (renewable obligation certificate), scheme comes to an end, there will be a large bunch of investment funded companies kicking around with nothing to do, who have made a living from bleeding the the Government ROC scheme dry. Many of these companies are based offshore, thus UK money is going elsewhere. A scenario not considered by the Government all those years ago.

These companies on 1st April, will be determined not to be foolish enough to simply close up shop and go away.. I strongly expect that this Monday morning, after the usual moral boosting meeting,  sales guys will be moving over to finding large rooftops to populate with solar under the Feed in Tariff scheme. This will be disaster for Solar PV. Calculated by Government advisors, as if that gets played out, the smaller solar installers bread and butter will be killed off by the middle of the year when a massive degression is announced, reducing Feed in Tariff to such a small rate, it will not be worth installing... There goes the industry! Or maybe Amber Rudd will simply kill it all off before next year anyway?

Of course, people will still want solar to keep their power bills down, but realistically, the drive of the Feed in Tariff needs to keep the industry buoyant for a few more years until power bills take a few more price hikes and make people actually realise that simply making your own power is the way to go, even without FiT. By that time searching for someone to install PV properly will be difficult.

To my thinking, the easiest and best fix will be to limit FiT installations to sub 50kW systems, thus limit FiT payments and make it available for the people that actually need it .. Oh, and stop subsidising Nuclear and Fossil fuel production of course!!

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