Feed in Tariffs - Government Review Consultation Ends

The UK coalition government’s first consultation of the Feed in Tariff scheme for small scale, low carbon electricity concluded yesterday. The report published on the 18th March has been open for public consultation for 6 weeks
The review suggests imposing tariff bands to distinguish between high and low volume energy producers and proposes decreasing the tariffs available for solar photovoltaic (PV) over 50kW.

The reasoning behind these proposals is to ensure that the benefits of solar energy installations aimed for small and domestic operators are not diverted to larger solar projects. This means that homes and community solar systems will continue to benefit from the scheme but reduced benefit will be claimed by large commercial or non-domestic systems. So far, so good it seems. But environmental campaigners such as Friends of the Earth warn that imposing restrictions on the tariffs sends out the wrong message and will serve as discouragement to home owners to install a PV system.

There is not much justification for these changes as the report seems to suggest that the overwhelming proporion of solar energy generated through the scheme has come from small domestic systems not larger distributers.
Switching the UK onto alternative energy sources and making the transition as attractive as possible has long been the game plan for UK governments and the success of the Feed in Tariff so far is a positive sign that the road to greener energy is possible. The take up with the scheme has increased dramatically with twice as many installations in the first quarter of 2011 than in the third quarter of 2010.

The government has guaranteed the Feed in Tariff scheme for 25 years and with the rising rates of inflation the scheme looks set to be quite a money spinner. Government reviews to seek to tighten the qualification criteria for the scheme may be a way of protecting the consumer from big businesses but is certainly a sign that the scheme looks set to pay out.

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