Advice on being green, and renewable energy

Posts tagged ‘solar’

feed in tariff reduction – why it aint all bad


Like most companies that have invested heavily in the growth of our companies on the back of the feed in tariff, I was left reeling at the cut announced last Monday.

Having now had time to reflect I dont think that the cut is all bad and I would like to explain why.

Investors were making fortunes from free solar schemes. They need to be stopped before the energy bills of everyone get out of control to pay them the feed in tariff.

It didnt matter whether your roof was East, West, or even behind a tree, an installation could still earn you in excess of 10% ROI. The aim of solar panels should primarily be to generate electricity and reduce the bills of the householder and the carbon footprint of the nation. Therefore they should be only reccommended to people with appropriate roof tops.

At 21p, you will see a decent return – provided your rooftop is appropriate. This will ensure surveys are carried out by competent engineers and not by commission based salesman looking to make a quick buck.

Solar Panels have come down in price, but not enough – suppliers are still charging excessive prices to installers for the hardware and competition has forced installers to accept minimal margins, which cannot be squeezed any further. Suppliers will have to reduce their prices if they are expecting to sell any panels. This is good for the industry. The current prices put solar panels out of the reach of too many people.

On the back of this price reduction (which has been proven in foreign markets on the back of Feed in tariff reductions) then customers with appropriate rooftops can expect to earn 10% returns and generate attractive reductions in their rising electricity bills.

In Summary – this reduction will get rid of the bad eggs:
– Commission based salesmen
– Free solar schemes
– Inefficient installations
– Overcharging by suppliers

But… The deadline set by the government is a problem and has caused a gold rush from people who have accelerated their plans to install solar. Cancelled orders will cause job losses in the industry, more warning from the governement would have allowed people to adjust the business plans to cope.

Asking people to achieve an EPC rating of a C to recieve the Feed in Tariff is non-sensical. The EPC refers to heat efficiency, and the generation and use of solar electricity by the property is not a factor. This should be removed so that properties which do not have cavity walls and cannot achieve a C can still benefit from energy efficiency measures – otherwise we might as well knock down every house of a certain age and re-build.

The Government must:
– Reconsider the cut off point for domestic, owner occupied installations. (keep the deadline for free solar schemes)
– Remove the need to achieve an EPC rating of C.
– Put pressure on suppliers to reduce their prices.

Comments as always welcome



Renewable heat premium payment scheme and you

The government announced the first part of the new renewable heat incentive – the renewable heat premium payment scheme.

This is basically a limited number of vouchers that householders can use to put towards the installation cost of a new reneable heat technology, such as biomass boiler, air or ground source heat, or solar thermal. This is not the start of a tariff paying you per unit of heat generated, like the feed in tariff. The payment of a tariff is expected to commence from October next year. Any installation put in between now and them will qualify to receive the tariff payment, but the tariff levels are yet to be decided.

If you need to upgrade or replace your boiler, you should contact the energy saving trust and apply for a voucher under the reneable heat premium payment scheme.

There is a condition on the basis of your home energy efficiency so you may need to seek independent advice from an energy assessor to ensure that the voucher will be valid. For example if you install a biomass boiler without having put adequate installation in, your renewable heat incentive will be revoked.

Energy friend can not only advise you on your efficiency rating, we can ensure the installation is carried out by a properly qualified company and that you get the best deal.