Thursday, 3 November 2011

Solar Electricity Tariffs

"Homeowners will have to spend more to qualify - http://t.co/VMFcsHrc - but we do need to prioritise." @EcoWarriorMe

The recent announcement by the government to cut feed-in tariffs for solar electricity generated by householders has quite rightly faced heavy criticism. Installation of solar panels under the scheme has led to significant growth in the sector, creating employment as well as green electricity. Changing the goal posts at short notice jeopardises this genuinely sustainable economic growth but it also undermines confidence in any future initiatives.

Another part of the changes to the feed-in tariff is to restrict the scheme to homes that are already energy efficient but this is not necessarily a bad thing.

"Some 86% of the UK’s homes do not meet the ‘C’ energy rating standard that properties will need to qualify for the feed- in tariff"  The Guardian

In homes with a poor energy rating, it is cheaper to implement energy saving measures than to overall solar panels and the carbon reduction for a unit cost is significantly greater. Measures that can be taken start at a few pounds to draft proof windows and doors to several thousand to install double glazing with many options in between.

Part of the problem is that cost savings to the consumer ar
e only the marginal unit cost of gas our electricity (i.e. the cheaper rate on your bill) compared with a feed in tariff that is set at about three times the retail electricity cost, now reducing to one and a half times the cost.

A new scheme, The Green Deal, is due to start next November. As out stands this will allow people to take out loans for energy efficiency measures and pay them back with cost savings on energy but out still falls short of the feed-in tariff of paying more than the cost of energy saved.

A payment to not use as much energy may be the answer but it would undoubtedly fire up the climate change sceptics.

1 comment:

  1. I only heard about these changes today and I'm really upset by them. As you point out, it undermines confidence in future ideas and makes a bit of a mockery of the green movement... I can understand that we need to set priorities right with 'green' changes on our homes, good insulation comes first and foremost - with cavity wall and loft insulation available to most for little or no cost. It will be interesting to see what happens next November - thanks for flagging this up and raising awareness!

    Warm wishes
    Rae aka Mrs Green @myzerowaste.com

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