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Solar UK News: 10% solar FIT PV subsidy cuts briefing – with original buzzwords!

Filed under: Latest News

Solar FIT, solar feed in tariff, solar subsidy news, FIT cuts, DECC to cut green grants for PV electricity

Dear Solar Energy Enthusiast,

Just heard that UK Energy Minister Greg Barker held a high level meeting in late November with the renewable energy industry’s “great and good” (ahhrumnph – so why were we absent?!) to ask them an unpalatable question:

How can I cut government spending by 10% on renewable electric subsidies under the Feed in Tariff (FIT) as painlessly as possible?

As you may know, the FIT currently subsidises renewable electricity generation, with the actual subsidy level in pence (the tariff) depending on what green energy technology is used and how large the actual imnstallation is. The FIT tariff for the numerous home-generated solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity installations fitted by Solar Twin Ltd starts at 41.3p per “unit” of solar electric energy (kilowatt-hour). Details are here: http://www.solartwin.com/solartwin-features/offers/solar-quotes-prices-solar-hot-water-solar-electricity-pv

The golden rule of all panic-reduction government meetings is to “deploy” a buzzword dictionary defensively.

“Trajectory of deployment” seems to have been the most widespread buzzword at the meeting. Apparently this means guessing the date when the FIT subsidy funds will run out, thereby “cooling the market” ie reducing or ending solar panel subsidies. Apparently everything you ever need to know about cuts and overspending can be calculated, even in the absence of hindshight, in a trice with the technical assistance of spreadsheets, graphs and, er, fingers in the air. (Not turbines.) Perhaps guessing the exact date of the cut will become a business opportunity for your local bookie? Imagine the conversation: “OK sir / madam, that’s your chosen date. Now are you betting on a total cut or just a funding reduction? If just a reduction then please tell me: what percentage and on what technology and installation size range?”


Where are some of UK’s new PV solar farms planned? Solar Farm PV Array Size (MWp) Solar Farm FiT Payment Per Year
Cornwall: Benbole Farm 1 £0.5M
Cornwall: near Newquay Airport 5 £1.25M
Cornwall: 7 more sites planned 20 £5.0M
Cornwall: Wheal Jane Mine 1.5 £0.38M
Cambridge: Wilburton 5 £1.25M
Dorset: Parley Fm 5 £1.25M
Gloucestershire: 12 sites at 5MW 60 £15M

Your bet is a good as mine.

But here’s my tip for life outside the bookies: I would suggest deploying your investment into PV solar electric panels while the going is good. Here is some information (last updated on 1 December 2010) on large solar farms that are planned soon (Note: 1 MW = a million watts). Set these in the context of The DECC Spending Review press release noted that:

Feed-in tariffs will be re-focused on the most cost-effective technologies saving £40 million in 2014-15. The changes will be implemented at the first scheduled review of tariffs unless higher than expected deployment requires an early review. Our understanding of the legal process of a review is that it will take a minimum of 3 months.

Subsequently, DECC Energy Minister Greg Barker explained in Parliament:

…we inherited a system that simply failed to anticipate industrial-scale, stand-alone, Greenfield solar, and, although we will not act retrospectively, large field-based developments should not be allowed to distort the available funding for roof-based PV, other PV and other types of renewables. He also added: We want to see an ambitious roll out of solar panels on Britain’s roof space but not all over the countryside. I will not allow the hard won available funding to be scooped up by a few industrial scale PV farms at the expense of the domestic or small business installations. This is encouraging for homeowners.

The new government fuzzword for “bungle” is “glitch”.

At the meeting, “glitch” was deployed in the circumstance of the (previous – haha) government failing to anticipate that global venture capital managers, investment bankers, toms, dicks and harrys would all gorge on UK’s feed in tariff – because today the UK is probably the most generous solar PV panel subsidiser on the planet. (Solar Twin Ltd have even been pitched by representatives of a major Hong Kong fund manager seeking low cost Cornish sites for solar farms which would be sold on to third parties within three months of completion.) Paid for by the everyday energy user, the returns on investment from such giant scale solar farming promises to outstrip virtually any other form of (legitimate) investment.

How long will this uncertainty last?

Regarding solar farming, there is reported to be, er, “tension” within the competing dimensions of scale and cost-effectiveness. As a supplier of small domestic and medium scale commercial PV installations, we hope that the newly defined “10% economy” (axe) will eventually fall entirely on large scale installations such as the hundred or so 5000 kilowatt peak installations which are in the planning pipeline. But we would of course. Obviously on costs-benefits terms, one solar farm is far more cost-efficient that installing the equivalent generation capacity on around 2000 smaller domestic rooftop systems. And the government is being pressed by a “centre-right think tank” to make solar electricity more cost effective and (in the same direction) presumably it is also being lobbied hard by the large developers. On the other hand, Government says it is committed to the wider use and ownership of small scale, “domestic microgeneration”. That translates as solar panels on your roof – not on top of good British farmland.

So where will the big axe land?

As for the smashing impact of government’s FIT’s subsidy on the wider solar panel market, if you want to see how the PV subsidy tap operates, this graph shows how UK’s interest in PV has overshot solar water heating (which we also provide at Solartwin), just take a look at this amazing graph in google trends.

I hope this solar news briefing is interesting. Now for the commercial…

Go for solar today order your peak rate FIT subsidised solar PV panels from Solartwin now!

And buy your solar panels with confidence. If your feed in tariff drops by over 20% between the date of your solar panel order and the date that we agree to start your PV installation, then you can abandon your order completely and get a 100% refund (This offer is made on top of your normal retail consumer rights: it does not diminish them). So no worries.

For reliable installers of solar panels for over a decade – choose Solartwin today.

Solar Twin Ltd have always been justified in their warnings about possible solar subsidy cuts over the years, so feel feel free to tell your friends now. Call us now, should you want to discuss solar electricity – while the FIT budget remains unspent – while domestic solar PV FIT tariffs remain at 41.3p!

And please don’t miss the boat!

Best Regards Barry and colleagues at Solar Twin Ltd.


Written and published by -
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