Framework set out, but is it really certainty for the solar sector?

The DECC today introduced regulations which it says will put the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme on a more predictable, certain and sustainable footing for householders, businesses and the solar industry.

Greg Barker MP today said the changes, from August 1,  would provide better value for money and allow businesses and householders to plan with confidence. He told the House of Commons that the changes were good news for the industry and for consumers and will ensure that as many people as possible benefit.

The tariff for a small domestic solar installation will be 16p per kilowatt hour, down from 21p, and will be set to decrease on a three month basis thereafter, with pauses if the market slows down. All tariffs will continue to be index-linked in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) and the export tariff will be increased from 3.2p to 4.5p.

Although the announcement perhaps sets out a framework for the Feed-in-Tariff, we’re not sure it creates the certainty that the Government claims.

What was always needed was for the Government to properly consult with the solar sector and develop a plan for the future. The reduction in the tariff today was expected and we welcome the delay in the deadline to August 1.

However, there is still uncertainty for consumers when they consider what return they will get on their investment with plans to link the future reduction to uptake in installations.

It is disappointing to see the FiT lifetime reduced to 20 years, but we accept that this brings it in line with other incentives.

But we are delighted to see the inclusion of solar power in the UK Renewable Energy Roadmap – one of the most important aspects of Mr Barker’s announcement today.

Organic Energy criticised the report last year for failing to include the technology as one of the key renewable energy sources with the greatest potential to reduce the UK’s dependence on gas and oil.

This U-turn will help reassure the solar industry that the Government is committed not only to its future and the jobs which it is creating, but also to meeting the Government’s targets on renewable energy.

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