The UK government has announced a 50% cut in the subsidy for the Feed-in-Tarriff scheme where UK householders receive a premium price for any excess electricity generated from their solar panels. The scheme has been very popular, encouraging many householders with savings to invest in solar power for considerably better returns than a high interest savings account (41p a kWH, around 4 times the normal electricity price). Even those without savings benefited as consumers could opt for a free-installation with the installation company taking the profits from the Feed-in-Tariff.
The Government has justified the decision because of the falling costs of solar panels but industry experts are not happy. Ray Noble from the Renewable Energy Association (REA) said “I’ve talked to some companies who are looking at pulling the plug in weeks – it probably reduces the size of the industry by 15,000-20,000 jobs.” The decision may affect many small to medium sized who’s business model is based around a fixed subsidy.
At a time when the UK’s manufacturing base is suffering, this seems like short-sighted decision, for both economic and environmental reasons.