Archives for posts with tag: Feed-in tariff

by Deborah Burley

The government recently unveiled plans to cut feed-in tariffs by 50% in the next six weeks. It means that those with plans to fit solar panels to their homes will have to do it by the 12 December or else will only receive about half of the rates.

It means contracts that have already been signed for solar panels are getting cancelled by those less than happy with the ‘greenest government ever’’s announcement because the work won’t be done in time – others are expected to follow.

Is there still a future in solar panels?

Up until last week, the government stated that UK home owners would have until the 1 April 2012 to fit solar panels and still be eligible for the higher Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments.

It was a deal that many jumped on – with around 10,000 households joining up.
Now, after the change of plan from the coalition, that date has now been moved forward, prompting serious concern about the viability of an industry constructed around the Feed-in Tariff scheme that now contains over 25, 000 people. It may mean serious and unexpected job loss in a market that held such promise.

What next for FiTs?

Much anger and frustration had surrounded the government plans for FiTs. An industry protest is planned in Westminster on 22 November and Friends of the Earth have threatened a legal challenge should there be no reversal on the proposal, claiming that the government should be encouraging renewable energy instead of putting people off it.

The industry is working over-time to complete the already started installations by the 12 December or  the 43.4p per kWh initially promised will drop to just 21p per kWh.

Potential problems

As well as the obvious draw back to the government’s FiTs proposal, other barriers are becoming evident for those planning to earn from their solar panels.

Firstly, those in the middle of an installation may now discover that they have to have all relevant paperwork in by 5 December bringing the installation deadline forward even more, although this is by no means a blanket policy.

Feed in Tariffs – what you need to know

  • If you are having solar panels installed by the 12 December then you will be on a FiT  rate of 43.4p per kWh for the next 25 years.
  • If your installation falls between 12 December and 1 April, you will be on the FiT rate of 43.4p per kWh until 1 April when the rate drops to 21p per kWh.
  • If your solar panels are not fully installed until after 1 April, you are only eligible for the 21p per kWh rate.

How do the government’s FiT proposal affect you? Are you currently in the middle of installation or planning an installation for before or after the 12 December? Do you think it’ll still be worth setting up solar panels after you’ve made your home compliant with the energy-efficient measures? Do the new plans make little difference to you – it’s still good to be generating your own energy, right? Let us know your thoughts…

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by Maya Robert

Wind turbines on the increase

Image by ali_pk via flickr

The AEA, a climate change consultancy, has been watching us and how we adopt new renewable energy measures, such as solar panels, Feed-in Tariffs and wind power.

Today it published its regional results and some of them have been more surprising than others.

For instance, the North has proved a lot more proactive in taking up renewable energy schemes and showed the biggest uplift in renewable energy generation since the Feed-in Tariff (a government incentive that pays ypu for generating your own energy) was introduced.

On the other hand, homes and businesses in major cities such as Manchester faired a lot worse, coming bottom of the table.

Scotland was the winner for wind turbines. 14% of renewable energy is in wind power and Aberdeenshire alone has implemented 3.7% of the UK’s total.

However, it was Sheffield that shone as the leader in renewable energy. Of the 10 largest cities in the UK, it was Sheffield that beat other major cities, including the countries capitals for the most installed renewable energy measures.

In total, it achieved “over eight times as much installed capacity/1,000 population as London and fifteen times as much as Manchester”. The capital failed even to come second or third in the table, with Leeds and Bristol taking those places respectively.

“This,” wrote the AEA, “flies in the face of geographical expectations that northern cities would not maximise solar PV as much as their southern counterparts.”

By measuring how many KWe (kilowatts of energy) each city produced divided by its population, the AEA has given us a good ratio of which cities are adopting renewable energy the most.

For instance, Sheffield has increased its capacity by 1,997, which is an average of 3.65 KWe per 1000 people.

Although London might have produced the most KWe at 3,242, when divided by 1000 to put it in context of its population, it fairs a lot worse.

*graph information courtesy of AEA Group

It’s not just individual households that are taking advantage of government incentives to go green – measures, such as the Barclays £100m fund to help farmers pay for projects has led to large-scale renewable energy projects around the UK. Councils have also pushed for social housing to create more energy-efficient houses, thus increasing the scope of renewable energy across a range of communities.

Most notably, says the AEA, local authorities have been “taking advantage of’ the Feed-in Tariff scheme”. This means, the AEA predicts, that “low income households will also be able to benefit from future savings through the use of renewable electricity.”

Perhaps this is a ray of hope for the 6.3 million people currently living in fuel poverty.

E.ON has put its prices up by an average of £170 a year. But you could reduce that price rise to just £40! Here’s how solar panels can help you to make up the difference and keep your household bills down.

Free solar panels – save £130

  • Cut your electricity bills by £130* to offset the cost of the price rises. What’s the catch? There isn’t one really, just that the company who gives you the free solar panels will benefit from the Feed-in Tariff scheme – but the savings on your bills are all yours! And just think – the more energy bills rise, the more savings you’ll make.

Buy solar panels and save £130 AND earn £900!

  • If you buy your solar panels outright and cut your electricity bill by £130 AND earn up to £900 a year with the Feed-in Tariff (FiT)*. Haven’t heard of the Feed-in Tariff? It’s a government backed scheme where you get paid for the electricity your solar panels generate. Find out more with our Feed-in Tariff guide. Not only will this help you to negate the E.ON price rise, but  it is also a great investment – you can earn around £25,000 over the 25 year lifetime of your solar panels, which is a higher rate than most savings accounts! Sign up before April to get the best FiT rate (rates will be lower after April 2012 – sign up now to lock in on the higher rates).

Check out the new solar panels section of our site to find out more about getting solar panels for your home. You can compare deals and see guides, infographics and diagrams to help you pick the best way to cut back on your gas and electricity bills and make your home more energy-efficient.

* This is based on an average household using 4,500kWh of electricity a year, at a cost of £585. If the solar panels generate 2,000 kWh of electricity, which is paid at a rate of paid 43.3p a unit under a Feed-in Tariff, the household will earn a total of £866. Assuming they use half (1,000 kWh) of the electricity (remember that the time they need to use the most electricity might not be the time when they are generating the most, so they would still have to buy electricity), this will cut £130 off their electricity bill. They sell the other 1,000 kWh of electricity they generate at 3.1p a unit and make £31. The household will cut their electricity bill by £130 and make £896 from their energy (£866 plus £31), meaning a total combined income and saving of £1027 in one year.

Today is Energy Saving Week’s ‘Generate your own’ day, so I’ve put together a short reading list with articles and blog posts on Feed-in Tariffs, Pay As You Save, solar power etc etc. Enjoy!

Generate your own energy with the Feed-in Tariff scheme

  • Feed-in Tariffs: the uSwitch Guide – use this guide to find out everything you need to know about getting paid to generate your own green energy with the Feed-in Tariff scheme.
  • Feed-in Tariff scheme proves popular – the government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme kicked-off in April and has already got thousands of people generating their own green electricity.
  • What is Pay As You Save? – find out how you could get a low-interest loan to cover the cost of starting to generate your own renewable energy.