November update

Since we started the Two Wards Of Solar project much has happened.  Here’s an update on where we currently are.  There is good news and bad news, firstly the bad…

The bad news

You may have heard that the current government will cut solar PV subsidy in January by 87%!!! (the Feed-in-Tariff for solar electric panels). Some large solar companies have gone out of business as a result. Before this Government announcement, several local organisations were interested in funding the project, though now not until after the New Year. This gives us a big problem – as we are now unable to get money to pay for solar installations before 2016. This means that the project we hoped to do will no longer be possible. We had hoped to get some homes done before the cuts as this would have meant we could have done more afterwards, but we have run out of options for funding it.

The good news

There is plenty of interest in the project and we want to see if there is another way forward. We want to know if you would still be interested if the project took a different shape. For example, how would you feel about there being no community improvement fund, or if the electricity from your roof cost the same as from your grid supplier (e.g. ~15p/unit). We have a few ideas and hope you have some, too. We plan to hold an event to discuss what might be possible. If you would be willing to give an hour of your time then please get in touch via email or telephone.

Why did this happen?

Over the summer the Conservative government announced its proposed changes to its support for renewable energy.  This was an expected review and everyone was expecting a legitimate drop in subsidies due to falling costs.  This would not have been a major problem.  However, the proposals take a hatchet to the subsidies that will set the industry back for years.  This is no exaggeration.  All types of renewable energy are taking a big hit and domestic scale solar PV is hit the worst as they propose to cut it by 87%!

The conservative government’s excuse is that they want to keep household energy bills down.  So do we!  Solar was on track to become the cheapest form of energy.  They are worried about adding £6 pounds to an average bill of £1,300 in 2020.  This is a tiny amount compared to the subsidies that they currently give to coal and nuclear power in the form of tax breaks and guarantees for a minimum unit price.  The review is being driven by political ideology and not any kind of long term economic sense.

The irony is that if subsidies had continued for another 2-3 years solar PV would no longer need it.  It is the technology that is closest to what they call grid parity – the price where it can compete without subsidy against electricity generated from coal, gas and nuclear.  There is a real working future for solar PV, however it looks like Britain is about to slip further behind on taking advantage of this abundant source of energy.

In reality this Government decision will cost the whole UK economy as it will have to deal with continued high cost energy.

Stay with us

We hope you can join us for a meaningful discussion about how the project can be taken forward.  We want to know what demand there is from local people for cleaner & greener energy and what is an acceptable price to pay for it.  Get in touch via email or telephone.