Solar Subsidy Cuts Prompts Panic Buying

Solar installers are reporting a record number of calls, following the announcement that solar subsidies are to be cut.

From 12 December the feed-in tariff (Fit) scheme will pay out just 21p per kilowatt hour, down from 43.3p. The news has been a catalyst for panic buying, with homeowners desperate to get the technology installed before the deadline.

Under plans put forward by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), anyone who registers a PV installation under 4kW after midnight on 11 December will be eligible to receive the current feed-in tariff rate of 43.3p per kWh up until 1 April next year, when the financial incentive will drop by more than half to 21p per kWh.

However, if the PV system is installed and registers for the feed-in tariff before 12 December, they are guaranteed to receive the 43.3p per kWh rate for 25 years.

Since the announcement to slash subsidies, one of the UK’s leading solar PV installers, EvoEnergy has been fielding hundreds of inquiries from potential customers hoping to get a solar system installed before the 12th December. With daily inquiries around the hundred mark, between Monday and Wednesday the level of inquiries reached 400 a day.

After the December deadline, investing in solar panels as a renewable form of energy simply won’t be so attractive, not least because it will almost double the payback period for homeowners wanting to benefit from the technology, and takes the expected financial return below 5%.

A spokesman for EvoEnergy has confirmed that it is “highly unlikely” that anyone installing on 11 December will get approval in time for the higher feed-in tariff rate. The company said its books are full with orders and is now taking orders for 12th December onwards. EvoEnergy firmly believes that solar PV still remains commercially viable, in spite of the new rates, and the solar firm is advising people to avoid a panic-buying scenario.

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