This summer’s heatwave has helped solar energy to reach record weekly highs. While this may have generated more interest in solar power, the government’s plans to remove the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme is having the opposite effect.
As a result, industry leaders are urging the government to reconsider and continue making payments to small producers for excess solar energy.
Any surplus energy from individual users of solar panels can be sold back to the National Grid at a price of 5.24p per kWh, the New Statesman explained. This was brought in as an incentive to encourage investment in the renewable energy source by households, small businesses, and farmers.
The Solar Trade Association (STA) believes that scrapping export and feed-in tariffs will put off investors and end fair payments for solar power from small producers in the UK.
An open letter to Energy Minister Claire Perry, published by the STA and signed by over 200 organisations in the UK, is calling on the government to “urgently” confirm continuation of the tariffs, which are planned to end from April next year.
As Energy Live News reports, the letter states: “If the export tariff is removed next April, householders, SMEs and others investing in solar and smart technologies will encounter very nascent markets that currently lack regulatory foundations. They would, therefore, potentially have to spill their power onto the grid for free, effectively subsidising the commercial electricity sector.
“We hope you agree that this wouldn’t be acceptable. Such negative treatment will stifle the market, put off early adopters and give the wrong signals about grid interaction to consumers, thus slowing down UK progress towards a smart and flexible energy system.”
Speaking to the New Statesman, the STA’s director of advocacy and new markets, Leonie Greene, said: “It’s withdrawing a fair payment for a valuable commodity from small-scale solar power producers.”
“It could be very damaging for public engagement in clean energy and climate change and will also set back the development of the smart power industry in the UK,” she added.
Signatories of the letter include suppliers, academics, NGOs, youth groups, city leaders, faith groups, and land owners. The organisations include Community Energy England, E.ON, Nissan Energy Services, National Farmers Union, Good Homes Alliance, and Savills.
The government’s decision doesn’t take away the fact that solar power helps businesses to save money whilst making use of green energy. If you’d like to discuss ways in which you could reap the benefits of solar power, speak to Zestec today.