Solar Feed in Tariffs (FiT) have been getting a lot of bad press recently. But have the media missed the point?
Peter Bennett, a solar panel analyst from Solar Power Portal, says how the drama created in the media misrepresents the true conditions in the market. And the fall in applications for domestic solar panel installations has not necessarily been caused by the cuts in tariffs – which still offer a healthy incentives to invest. He says:
“The fight to stop the fast-track FiT cuts gained traction in national media and the general public were given the impression that the cuts killed the industry dead.”
Thomas Newby, Managing Director of the Phoenix works, a company that specialises in renewable energy installations, explains the effect this has on customers:
“Everyone hears on the grape vine that tariffs are being slashed and think it is not worth investing. We then have to then make a huge effort to re-publicise and re-sell the schemes.”
In fact FiT are, Newby continues, still doing what they say on the box.
The amount per kw hour that is paid to customers who generate solar electricity from panels on their roofs is still worth investing in, as the cost of installing solar panels has dropped continually.
“It is still offering the incentive for a customer to come up with the cash to install renewable on their homes,” says Newby.
Calming the market
The new system of FiT degression means there is now a regular reduction in tariff rates that track the market conditions of applications and solar panel costs. This is seen as a better system than the freak tariff announcements that unsettles the market.
The FiT system aims to reach a point win which installing solar panels onto a property becomes a house accessory, as affordable and normal as say double glazing or a conservatory.
Bennett said on the new degression model:
“The majority welcomed the stability and certainty that the new model provides, yet a vocal minority have been critical that such regular degression serve only to confuse potential customers.”