Monthly archives: February 2010 Needs You!

In our efforts to become a better information resource for people interested in the UK’s upcoming feed-in-tariff, we are looking for contributions from our own readership. Do you have experience with solar energy that you would like to share?

Perhaps you recently had a micro-generation system fitted and have inside information on what it really takes and what the benefits are?

Do you work in a field related to the feed in tariff? If so, and you would like to share your views, then please contact us at

We are looking for articles of around 400-500 words, and these can be published anonymously or not, depending on your preference. We cannot promise to publish all articles but will do our best. You can also let us know beforehand if you would like to write something and we will provide some early feedback.

Thanks for your help and support!

With the details of the much anticipated (and much debated) UK feed-in tariff announced, discussions are already taking place as to whether the rates will suffice to kick start the fledgling solar industry in Britain.

With the UK as one of the last major countries in the EU to implement a feed-in tariff mechanism as a means of boosting solar investment attractiveness, we have already given the opinion on this website that the government seems to be taking reals steps towards a viable renewable energy economy.


Coming under praise following the government’s lengthy consultation process have been key features of the tariff mechanism such as 25 year lifespan which will help to secure investments, inflation linkage , and calculations that the average annual ROI for sub 4kW installations will be around 7-8%.

With European tariff models having already pioneered the way through trial and error, it seems that the UK government has taken heed of some of the potential pitfalls that can harm the effectiveness of feed-in tariff mechanisms.

Certainly, in their annual Solar Attractiveness Indices, Ernst & Young consistently look favourably upon those nations with strong, long term tariff rates which offer security and real value to money for investors. With the recently announced tariff details it certainly appears that everything is in place for a strong solar industry to develop in the UK as investors are enticed by the opportunities of this new market.

With a history of incentivising renewable micro-generators, energy suppliers, Good Energy are well aware of the benefits that can be achieved from the recently announced feed-in tariff system, with CEO Juliet Davenport commenting that,

“Good Energy has shown for many years that financial incentives work on a commercial scale, benefiting generators at minimal cost to the energy consumer when delivered effectively.”

Solar thermal potential

The announced details of a further thermal tariff to be implemented next year also seem to have exceeded most expectations with regards to the solar thermal industry in the UK.

Tariffs offered for micro-generation using solar thermal technology will significantly boost the UK solar thermal industry as Chief Executive of Micropower Council Dave Sowden has stated,

“We particularly welcome the significant boost given to heat technologies such as solar thermal and heat pumps, and the recognition by Government of the crucial role microCHP is going to play in reducing carbon emissions for those with gas-fired central heating,”


Unsurprisingly, criticism has been voiced from environmental campaign group and strong advocates of widespread renewable energy use Friends of the Earth (FOE).

With the government having set a target of generating 10 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, there is a concern that not enough is being done to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. While amongst others have been happily surprised by the tariff announcement, FOE maintains that the rates will not be sufficient to attract investment in the industry in the face of strong competition from abroad. FOE campaigner Dave Timms has commented that,

“Installing renewable technologies will now be a good investment for many homes – but farmers, businesses, communities and others will get little or no extra incentive to invest in clean electricity.”

FOE maintain that in order for the UK solar industry to take off, just as the German industry did, the return on investment will have to be more around the 10 per cent mark rather than the 6-7 per cent figure in order to attract the levels of investment required to render the industry viable in the long term. believes that the UK has a great role to play in the future of renewable energy generation and that with the feed-in tariff in place, 2010 is going to be a very exciting year.

If you are interested in what the tariff could mean for your home or business, or want information on the investment potential of solar in the UK, this website will be regularly updated with news and investment products to meet your needs.

The UK feed-in-tariff announcement has generated a lot of interest in solar energy for homeowners. But what of the interest for organisations such as farms, businesses or local communities?

Some in the press have criticised the government’s proposed feed in tariff plans because they do not offer specific incentives to businesses as well as private individuals.

I would argue that the feed in tariff as it stands applies equally well to enterprises as it does homeowners. Businesses are often able to think longer term about investments. The incentives for installations above 50kW are still attractive for commercial roofspaces, especially if businesses use the electricity they generate for themselves, meaning that installing solar would be a prudent investment to have on a balance sheet. That is not to mention the kudos that comes with being a net exporter of green electricity.

In Germany the commercial rooftop segment of the market is the largest by volume, and with a feed in tariff pricing that now looks rather similar to the UK’s. We may therefore expect that companies start to explore using their roof space for PV. In fact if they haven’t thought of it yet, someone else will soon be approaching them with an offer.

That’s not to say the governments plans are flawless however. The UK is still pitifully behind the rest of Europe when it comes to renewable energy generation and particularly microgeneration.

Still lurking in government policy the ridiculously low target of 2 percent of energy coming from microgeneration by 2020. This is incomprehensible given that Germany is already at 4 percent from solar and other countries like Denmark with biomass gain nearly 40 percent from microgen. Surely this target must be revised!

Speaking as a professional in the global solar industry, the new UK feed in tariff has put us on the radar (a bit). Rather than smirking when I mention the potential for solar in the UK, my colleagues are now starting to take some interest…