by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) May 28, 2012
The Government has left consumers with a "sting in the tail" after unveiling its latest set of feed-in-tariff rates for solar PV. Ministers had initially planned to reduce the FIT rate to as low as 13.6p/kWh from July 1 but have instead settled on a new rate of 16p/kWh from August 1. There will be further decreases of up to 28% every three months but with the promise that these will not be implemented if the market slows down.
However, Ministers also announced plans to slash the lifetime of the FIT scheme from 25 years to 20 for new solar installations - which will significantly eat into the potential returns in the long-term.
David Hunt, a director with leading renewable energy company Eco Environments, said: "Yet again the Government stands accused of giving with one hand only to take away with the other.
"We are pleased that Ministers have listened to the deluge of complaints from the solar industry about the scale and speed of the cuts proposed in their consultation document earlier this year.
"But we are also disappointed that the Government still seems hell-bent on making life very difficult for the solar industry and the tens of thousands of jobs dependent on it as well as for consumers who are weighing up the pros and cons of investing in solar PV.
"While the return on investment remains attractive at around 6%, by reducing the FIT lifetime by five years consumers will earn approximately Pounds 20,000 less than they would have done if the 25 year term had been left in place. This is the sting in the tail that the industry and the consumer could have done without at a time when the market remains extremely fragile."
Under the present FIT rate of 21p/kWh, the return on investment is more than 10 per cent and is index linked and tax free, fixed and guaranteed for 25 years. David Hunt added: "We would urge anyone thinking about investing in solar PV to move quickly and get installed before the new August 1 deadline.
"Energy Minister Greg Barker described his announcement today as a new and exciting chapter for the solar industry, but I don't think too many people working at the heart of our industry will see it in the same positive light."
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