The UK government looks set to delay the next round of cuts to the feed-in tariff (FIT) for solar photovoltaics until August.
Following the contentious halving of the FIT for solar installations from 43.3p to 21p earlier this year, the government had planned a further reduction from July 1.
But the government has now missed the legal deadline for making any changes to the scheme, which require Parliament to be notified 40 days in advance.
After slow sales in April and May, as well as “listening carefully to industry”, Energy Minister Greg Barker has pledged to put back any further changes until August, according to the Solar Trade Association (STA).
Renewable energy associations and green groups, including the STA, say that solar photovoltaics are still a great investment for householders, delivering potential returns of up to 10% tax-free, index-linked for 25 years.
Although the FIT has come down, the cost of solar power has decreased more than any other generation technology so the returns are still good.
“There are two great reasons for homeowners to invest in PV today: the costs of solar power have fallen through the floor and our energy bills are going through the roof,” says STA chief executive Paul Barwell.
Juliet Davenport, founder and CEO of renewable supplier Good Energy, says solar is not only a great opportunity for householders but is also an important part of the UK’s energy portfolio.
“Already we’re seeing how solar makes a natural partner for more intermittent forms of renewable generation, like wind. That’s going to become more and more important in years to come,” she says.
The move by the government has also been welcomed by Greenpeace policy director Doug Parr.
“It is very encouraging for the future that government is listening to industry concerns,” says Barwell. “But we need certainty as soon as possible on the details of when and what the next tariff adjustments will be.”
For further information:
UK solar sales slump in wake of feed-in tariff cut (4-May)
UK government loses Supreme Court case against solar feed-in tariffs (26-Mar)
UK government feed-in tariff reform puts microgeneration at risk (10-Feb)
UK government unveils new plans for feed-in tariffs (9-Feb)
22 May 2012