There is growing worldwide concern about the environment. We know we live in an age where we have become increasingly power hungry, and consequently are always searching for new energy resources. Yet we’re also aware about the damage and harm we are doing to or environment. Yes, we all need energy to survive and to meet our domestic and business needs, but that doesn’t mean that we can ruthlessly exploit every available resource and ignore the environmental consequences. (more…)
It’s been an unfortunate couple of weeks for the government, and a perplexing time for anyone interested in renewable energy or committed to reducing their carbon footprint. First it was reluctantly forced to backtrack on its green pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 2020, claiming this was impractical given the severity of the recession. Then it had to accept that its new ‘Green Deal’ would actually increase the price of the average domestic energy bill by as much as £280 per year by 2020. That’s on top of the slashing of Feed in Tariff rates for new PV (more…)households. In fairness though, it did reaffirm its commitment to green energy by launching a consultation on its Green Deal programme; the scheme designed to encourage consumers to take out subsidised loans to help make their homes more energy efficient, thereby reducing their energy bills. So, you’d be forgiven if you’re a little troubled and confused by events.
The news was always likely to upset businesses working in theindustry and consumers who’d planned to install solar PV panels, but even climate change minister, Greg Barker, couldn’t really have foreseen the fuss that would ensue. There has been a public outcry about the proposed changes to the Feed in Tariff rates. The tariffs are to be slashed from 43.4p per KWh to 21p, and will apply to all new installations after the 12 December, 2011. Even those organisations the government assumed it could rely on, like the CBI, have roundly criticised the proposals. Director-general, John Cridland, has accused the government of moving the goalposts and shooting itself in the foot.
What is set to make matters even worse is the prospect that Friends of the Earth may also seek judicial review adding to the 3 separate legal challenges that the government is currently fighting. Barker has responded to the criticism, and has held emergency talks with members of the solar industry, and comments now leaking from Whitehall would suggest that the government is seriously starting to consider delaying the Fits changes, or at the very least phasing them in more gradually. A lot depends on how much money is left in the £867 million pound budget. Unfortunately this won’t be known until the consultation period closes at the end of December, two weeks after the changes are due to be implemented.
So, why has there been such an outcry? What will the changes to the Feed-in-Tariffs mean for solar power generating households?
The current Feed-in-Tariff system
Producing your own energy is often cheaper than buying it from energy companies: households that generate their own electricity pay less for their energy. Solar PV panel households can also sell any excess energy they generate to energy companies, using Feed-in Tariffs (FITs). Themost commonly installed by homeowners consist of eight panels, can generate up to 2.5kW and cost between £10,000 and £12,000. The Energy Saving Trust says these panels could generate at least £990 a year from a Feed-in Tariff, as well as saving you about £70 a year on energy bills. In addition, you could make a minimum of £35 to £40, and arguably a lot more by selling unused energy back to the national grid. It’s estimated that households paying for solar panel installations should be able to break even after 10 to 12 years. Any income earned after this time is guaranteed by the government’s 25 year commitment.
The proposed system
Feed-in-Tariff rates are set to drop from 13 December, 2011, from 43.3p per kWh of solar electricity to just 21 pence, cutting returns from a healthy 7 percent to just 4 percent. Whilst this still represents a comparatively good return on investment, this will now almost double the payback period for householders, meaning someone installing £10-12,000 solar panels will only be in credit after 18 years rather than 10. As it currently stands, the best value Fit rate on the market at the moment is offered by Utility Warehouse, which has pledged to offer an additional 2 pence per KWh on top of the standard rate. Solar panel customers on the new tariff can expect to earn somewhere in the region of £700 per year from Generation Tariff, £25 per year from the Export Tariff, and £110 per year reduction in current electricity bills.
The Solar Power industry warns of drastic consequences following the slashing of Feed in Tariff rates by the department of energy and climate change10th November 2011
Well, it’s now official. The worst-kept political secret for ages has finally been confirmed. The department of energy and climate change has announced swinging cuts to the Feed in Tariffs rates. (more…)subsides will be cut by half, the government confirmed yesterday. Climate change minister Greg Barker, launching a consultation on feed-in tariff rates for solar photovoltaic panels, said he wanted to avoid the industry falling victim to “boom and bust”.
There is growing concern about the environment, particularly about the damage and harm we are doing to it in our search for new energy resources. Yes, we all need energy to survive, but that doesn’t mean we should ruthlessly exploit every available resource and ignore the consequences. We all probably consume more energy than we need, so we should cut back and use less. However, that doesn’t seem to be in our nature. We simply bury our heads in the sand and carry on consuming as if the Earth’s resources are unlimited. Unfortunately they’re not. One day we’ll have used all our coal, oil and gas resources, and when this happens we’ll be in deep trouble. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: it’s called renewable energy. With technologies like PV (more…), wind turbines and geothermal power, we are now in a position to produce sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy without harming our fragile planet.
Because of the rising costs of energy, and the astronomical increases levied by the country’s 6 major energy suppliers, consumers are looking at ways to make savings. The obvious answer is to cut down on our energy consumption. It makes sense after all: we can’t continue to use this resource at the rate we’ve grown accustomed to, because there just isn’t enough to go around. Yet, however laudable this intention may be, it just isn’t practical for most of us. We need energy to survive, and there’s a limit to how much we can trim off our consumption. So consumers and experts have been looking at other ways in which we can satisfy our power needs without putting an excessive strain on the National Grid. The answer they have come up with is renewable energy. It’s clean and it’s green and, better still, because it’s a natural and renewable resource, it’s cheaper too. Consequently there’s been an enormous growth in interest in green energy, particularly solar-cell generated energy, or (more…). They’re relatively economical to install, produce clean electricity and eventually pay for themselves through subsidies from the government-backed Feed in Tariffs (FiTs).
We tend to hear nothing but bad news about the planet and the environment these days. If it’s not the new evidence that the polar ice caps are melting quicker than was predicted, it’s news that another hole has been discovered in the ozone layer which could potentially threaten our health. Some people will throw their hands up at such news and think that we’re doomed and there’s nothing we can do to change the situation. Others, however, take a more measured and pro-active approach, and reason that if all of us can make just one small change, then collectively we can really make a difference. Well, for all the doubters there is now a little good news: there’s a technology that we can all embrace that will positively contribute to the preservation of the planet, not just for this generation, but for future ones too. You can produce your own electricity in a greener and more sustainable way, using natural resources like the sun, wind or water. The technology’s called micro-generation, and it lets you produce low carbon renewable energy. Oh, and by the way, you might be able to make a few bob too in the process. (more…)
Barely a week passes without the news leaking out that one of the six major energy suppliers is about to put their electricity prices up yet again. They all claim to be better than each other and to act independently, yet most of us have deep-seated suspicions that the playing field isn’t quite as level as it’s claimed to be. So whether you choose to have your electricity supplied by British Gas, Npower, Eon, EDF, Scottish Power or Scottish and Southern, the one thing you can count on is that your electricity bill will continue to rise exponentially, even though your wages probably won’t. (more…)
We’d all like to save money wherever and when ever we can especially now we’re facing such austere economic times. With electricity prices set to rise by a further 17 percent in the coming weeks, it isn’t surprising that lots of people are now turning their attentions to green energy and solar PV technology. After all it makes perfect sense: why wouldn’t you want to harness the sun’s light to power your home free of charge? The only point that needs to be stressed is that although solar PV panels may sound very tempting, they aren’t suitable for every one or every home. So before you take the plunge and take that all-important step to go green, you really need to ask yourself one fundamental question. Is my home suitable for PV (more…)and solar PV technology?
There’s not a lot of money flowing round the system at the moment, and those lucky enough to have a little put by are understandably reluctant to part with it. Interest rates are historically low, and consequently the return on savings is dismal. We’re all either trying to save as much as we can, or looking for ways to make our savings work harder for us: unfortunately the opportunities to achieve either of these objectives get fewer by the week. So, if somebody said to you that you could cut your electricity bill in half and generate a reasonable income by harnessing the free power of the sun, you’d probably bite their arm off and sign on the dotted line without question. If that same person came to you and said you can have half-priced electricity and an income, but you’re going to have to stump up around £12,500 first to qualify for these benefits, you might actually think twice about it. That’s the choice for those looking to invest in and install PV (more…). There are undoubtedly benefits to be had if you take the plunge, but they come at a cost. So, can you ever justify spending such a large amount of money in the hope that you might generate an income?