Last minute bid to beat solar panel tariff deadline

Solar panels The late rush to install solar panels follows the government's decision to slash the subsidy available

An eleventh-hour rush to install solar panels has been taking place, as householders try to beat the deadline to benefit from a greater financial incentive to produce their own electricity.

The last minute boom follows the government's decision to slash the subsidy available to those who generate their own solar power.

From December 12, the feed-in tariff for residents who install solar panels will be reduced from 43p for each kilowatt-hour generated to 21p per kWh.

The timing of the move has been criticised by environmental campaigners and the green energy industry, with claims the decision will cost thousands of jobs.

No warning?

Start Quote

We've paid the money, we've signed the contract and out of the blue a decision like this comes through to cut the tariff now”

End Quote Robert Borrill Poultry farmer

Poultry farmer Robert Borrill took out a £150,000 loan to install solar panels on his farm in North Lincolnshire.

He signed the contract and paid for planning permission, but was told he would not be eligible for the higher tariff due to the reduction, which many did not expect until 2012.

Speaking to the Politics Show in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Mr Borrill said: I am absolutely livid. All the warning signs were that the tariff would change next April, which would have given us time to prepare.

"We've paid the money, we've signed the contract and out of the blue a decision like this comes through to cut the tariff now."

Solar subsidy

Ministers claim the feed-in tariff was simply unaffordable at the previous level and argue the cost of photovoltaic panels have fallen since the scheme was launched.

Sun and countryside The amount of solar power generated by the domestic market has increased more than ten-fold since the subsidy

The solar subsidy scheme, worth £867m, is funded by a charge on consumer energy bills.

In November, two of Britain's biggest solar panel installers and the environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth launched a High Court bid to prevent the tariffs being cut by the government.

Figures released by the energy regulator Ofgem reveal the amount of solar power generated by the domestic market has increased more than ten-fold since the subsidy began in 2010.

Tim Iredale Article written by Tim Iredale Tim Iredale Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

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  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    On this day Feed in tariffs are halved i've been pondering the fairness of paying EDF twice as much for my electricity than their customers pay in their own country {France}.
    I feel those who produce green energy should do so because they desire green energy not because there is a cash reward at the expense of other customers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    The incentive can’t be to subsidise companies, it has to be a subsidy to individuals.
    If the price of panels has come down then the subsidy should come down, but you have to be careful not to support solar panel prices!
    The guy who won’t be taking on apprentices, I wonder just why you were taking them cheap labour?

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    what a farce there is 917 trillion kW per day that comes out of the sun, we subsidize the gas industry as the coal and more so the Nuc, when people have solar on their roofs they are very more aware of their power bills, solar creates jobs and a maintenance ongoing jobs. Government being bought by the power company's who do not wish to let go of their power??

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Just remember who pays the FIT....the energy company,who get there money from the consumer,so everyone who doesn't have PV panels is paying a tax to benefit the ones that do!

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    A reduction in FIT to reflect decreasing installation costs is OK but they've not reduced by 50% ( the the subsidy figure). They admit panel costs have reduced 30% but install costs will have changed little.
    The speed with which this measure has been introduced, leaving only six weeks to complete existing projects, and before the end of the consultion period indicates dishonesty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    The government say the reason that caused this change in the FIT to be necessary is that solar panel prices have fallen by 30% since April 2010, causing a greater than expected rise in demand. They have constantly updated installation figures - why did they make a change with no notice?

    This infographic is of changes made in the FIT:

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    We were scheduled to have our solar panels but in spite of having paid the deposit we cancelled the whole thing as we did not trust the government not to change their mind again in the future. The oldest of us is 71. What chance did we have to get any return? We cannot blame the "people" for not trying to be "green". We try but are prevented by such measures that are "under the belt"

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Bad planning by DECC and wavering commitment to green issues by Messrs Barker and Huhne have lead to this problem. I urge Robert Borill and all those with an interest to comment on the consultation via the DECC website. RB should also ask the NFU for their support. Perhaps if there are enough complaints there will be a re-think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    The drastic cut to FiT was a terrible move by the government. Terrible for users such as Mr Borrill, terrible for the environment, terrible for the installation workforce (Carillion have placed 4500 staff at risk of redundancy).



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