FIT Generation Reading Submission

After six months I have finally been able to summit my first generation meter reading for payment. Southern Electric (sse) have delayed receiving FIT readings from me up to this point by changing the required submission dates. Today I have submitted this reading which should be paid by the end of June. I also understand that due to a Feed-in-tariff (FIT) generation rise on the 1/04/12 that this payment will cover two rates.

Increase in Solar Feed-in Tariff rates

For qualifying solar panel installations, April 1st marked an increase in the feed-in tariff rates of 4.8% in line with the retail price index. Some solar power harvesters will now earn a rate of 45.4p / kWh

Technology – Solar
electricity (PV)

Tariff level (p/kWh)*

Tariff lifetime
(years)

≤4 kW (retro fit – pre 3rd March 2012)

45.4

25

≤4 kW (new build – pre 3rd March 2012)

39.6

25

 See the new Feed-in Tariff payment rates here

Solar Panel Tariff Appeal Fails

Anybody who had a solar panel system installed after December 12th 2011 and before the final cut-off date of  March 3rd 2012 can now breath a sigh of relief. The Supreme Court today rejected the appeal from DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change) to cut subsidies for solar panels on homes installed during this period. This judgment now means that all domestic panel installations completed before 3rd March this year will still get the higher 43.3p feed-in tariff rate for 25 years.

New Solar Installation Risk!

As warned yesterday, the government’s Chris Huhne today released a statement indicating that an appeal would be sought. The following paragraph from his statement highlights the uncertainties and risks of a solar installation after the December 12th 2011 cut off date.

“Yesterday, the Court of Appeal handed down a negative judgment on the Government’s appeal against an earlier decision by the High Court. We respectfully disagree with the judgment and are seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. In the light of that, we cannot rule out the possibility that lower tariffs could be applied to installations which became eligible for FITs on or after the proposed reference date. It is important that consumers are aware of this.”

The Energy Secretary of State’s full statement by can be read here.

Solar Subsidy Cuts Delayed

The government has today lost its bid in the high court of appeal to cut subsidies for solar panel installations. The news will be greatly received by anyone who was unable to beat the original December 12th cut-off date.

The unanimous decision by the three court judges to reject the appeal means home owners will now have until 3rd March 2012 to get a solar system installed and benefit from today’s ruling. But buyers should still be mindful as the government will likely seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Installations from this date will see FIT (feed-in tariff) payments reduced by half.

This will still undoubtedly begin another solar panel ‘gold rush’ as personally experienced in November. I anticipate, contrary to the news of solar panel installation prices dropping recently, that this will now have an influence on prices inflating again until the new deadline has elapsed.

Feed-in Tariff Appeal

Statement by DECC spokesperson

On the FITs appeal, A DECC spokesperson said:

“We have lodged grounds of appeal with the Court of Appeal. We hope that permission will be granted for an appeal and that we can secure a hearing as soon as possible so that we can provide clarity for consumers and industry on the way forward following the consultation.

“The High Court’s decision was based on the view that the proposed approach to implementing new tariffs for solar PV is inconsistent with the FIT scheme’s statutory purpose of encouraging small-scale low-carbon electricity generation.

“We disagree with this for a number of reasons. The overriding aim of the proposed reduction in tariffs for solar PV (as set out in the recent consultation) is to ensure that over the long term as many people as possible are encouraged to install small scale low-carbon generation (including other technologies as well as solar PV) and benefit from the funding available for the FIT scheme. Without an urgent reduction in the current tariffs, which give a very generous return, the budget for the scheme would be severely depleted and there would be very little available for future solar PV generators, or for other technologies. Our view is that the urgent steps we have proposed to protect the scheme for the future are fully consistent with the scheme’s statutory purpose.

We have also made the point that the judicial review was premature as no decision has yet been taken, and a decision will only be taken after a full analysis of the responses to the consultation.”

High Court – Subsidy Cuts Ruling

A high court judge ruled today that the governments plans to slash Feed-in Tariff incentives was unlawful.

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker responded:

“We disagree with the Court’s decision. We will be seeking an appeal and hope to secure a hearing as soon as possible. Regardless of today’s outcome, the current high tariffs for solar PV are not sustainable and changes need to be made in order to protect the budget which is funded by consumers through their energy bills.”

Are My Solar Energy Plans Wrecked?

In one day, and after one press statement has my solar journey been ruined before it has really properly got going. Today an announcement was made indicating that subsidies for domestic solar electricity production would be reduced. A new tariff will be introduced cutting my proposed solar system’s subsidies by more than half.

Today the Climate Change and Energy Minister Mr Greg Barker said in his announcement:

“My priority is to put the solar industry on a firm footing so that it can remain a successful and prosperous part of the green economy, and so that it doesn’t fall victim to boom and bust.

“The plummeting costs of solar mean we’ve got no option but to act so that we stay within budget and not threaten the whole viability of the FITs scheme.

“Although I fully realise that adjusting to the new lower tariffs will be a big challenge for many firms, it won’t come as a surprise to many in the solar industry who’ve themselves acknowledged the big fall in costs and the big increase in their rate of return over the past year.

“Our proposal for an energy efficiency requirement, as well as the launch of the Green Deal next autumn, creates a massive opportunity for these firms to use their expertise to get a foothold in this exciting new market.

“People who are now thinking of installing solar PV need to do so with their eyes wide open and I’d encourage them to call the Energy Saving Trust for the latest advice.”

The proposed new rates are:

Band (kW) Current generation tariff (p/kWh) Proposed generation tariff (p/kWh)
≤4kW (new build) 37.8 21.0
≤4kW (retrofit) 43.3 21.0
>4-10kW 37.8 16.8
>10-50kW 32.9 15.2
>50-100kW 19 12.9
>100-150kW 19 12.9
>150-250kW 15 12.9
>250kW-5MW 8.5 8.5*
stand alone 8.5 8.5*

Well as you can imagine after that bombshell my dreams today are pretty much in tatters. If I’m unable to get the grants as they were I will not be able to pay for the system or at least it will be even more of a gamble to take a risk on generating enough energy to pay for the system plus any maintenance. This in a technology which I am still very unsure of!