Quite an introduction to the New Year for the Tariff’s.
Firstly, a High Court has ruled that the tariff reduction inn the 12th December was “legally flawed”, opening the way for a legal challenge by the solar industry.
Secondly, a Parliamentary report into the FiT reductions has called the process “clumsy”.
Whilst the solar industry might be crying foul and wringing their hands over the dilemma the uncertainty will place their industry in – with particular regard to claims of lost orders etc, it seems that no-ones really given any thought to the potential losses of the end user – in this case, the homeowners who were considering installing solar panels on their homes.
Of course many homeowners may feel they’re in a ‘wait and see’ period before they make a decision – something that won’t aid the renewables industry in the UK one bit – but whilst they’re waiting, ultimately, they’re only reducing their tariff earning potential.
Lets consider the facts for the moment. Fact – the feed-in tariff rate is now 21p (having fallen from 43p) as of the 12th December 2011.
This new rate of 21p is guaranteed until the review date in April this year.
It’s been suggested that the 21p rate might be guaranteed to qualifying installations for the full 25 year term and not just up to this April – well that remains to be seen.
What is certain is that for every day you delay an installation, that’s one day less you could have enjoyed the present tariff. Whether that tariff gets revoked and put back up to the previous amount or does not is beside the point.
What we have learned is that the Government might be going to introduce tougher criteria for FiT qualification. One report in the Farmers Guardian suggests that a home might have to meet an energy efficiency rating of C to qualify. As the article points out, 9 out of 10 homes currently do not meet this standard.
So waiting for tariff confirmation may come with the additional cost of property upgrades to qualify if homeowners leave it too late.
There’s simply no getting away from the fact that take up of the FiT’s was so beyond the expectations of the Government predictions that they’ve acted to try and ensure there long term viability.
As Greg Barker (Climate Minister) tweeted, regarding the appeal deadline for the High Court ruling, “Budget means 4 every 1 new taker @ 43p, 2 homes won’t get it at 21p” (source Business Green)
That’s the reality, whatever limbo the solar industry finds itself in, delaying a decision to install will only end up costing the homeowner.
photo credit: admlcrunch