Posts tagged with: Clean Energy Cash Back System

Following on from the various criticisms of the government’s recently announced Clean Energy Cash Back System, comes the announcement of the closure of phase two of the Low Carbon Building Program for solar installations in the UK.

The news is a blow to the industry as it will leave a crucial funding gap until the feed-in tariff comes into operation in April 2010. The move which has been made because of what the government calls ‘unprecedented demand’ seems to have become a victim of its own success.

Initially the government had earmarked £18 million of grants for solar PV installations for public sector buildings such as schools, hospitals and housing installations however it is feared that this cessation of the grant system will kill the solar PV industry in its tracks with the Clean Energy Cash back system still months away.

It is generally believed by industry insiders that the gap left by the closure of the low carbon program comes at an extremely bad time especially with regards to the general economic climate and Britain’s desire to become a real global player in solar PV. Speaking as general manager of UK solar firm, Sharp Solar, Andrew Lee commented that,

“The government’s decision to close the Low Carbon Building Programme Phase 2 is one that threatens to kill the UKs PV industry. At a time when the UK should be building-up interest and support ahead of the introduction of a UK Feed in Tariff next year, the decision to end the LCBP grant procedure because of too much demand is just another unnecessary hiatus in support.


“PV continues to be overlooked as the government conducts a stop start approach to adopting renewable energy. While we understand that PV technology is part of a wider renewable mix – if every building in the UK had a solar panel on its roof, there would be no need for any other energy source.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has come under the fiercest criticism since the dual release of the Clean Energy tariff details and now the low carbon program closure news. Some industry observers have commented that the DECC’s hand is being forced by a strong anti-solar lobby currently operating within Westminster and that this news is a hiatus possibly designed to appease the lobby headed by the utility companies.

Defending criticism of the government, a spokesman for the DECC stated,

“It’s very encouraging that there’s been an unprecedented demand for this technology but we have to be fair to all renewable technologies. We’ve put £18 million into the solar PV ‘pot’ since April which is more than the industry asked us for, so it’s really an unprecedented demand. FITs that come in next April will provide future incentive for solar PV projects.”

Environmental campaigners Greenpeace has released a ranking of the world’s leaders with regards to their respective commitments to tackling climate change. With the Copenhagen summit around the corner there is a massive media focus on the world’s leading economies to make real commitments to the environmental cause and Greenpeace are making an effort to look beyond the political spin.

Surprisingly Barack Obama is found wanting in the list with Greenpeace not impressed by the actions of the new American President. In the report, Greenpeace state that

“President Obama’s election hasn’t brought the breath of fresh air to climate talks that many had hoped for. Instead, it’s seen as a perpetuation of Bush-era efforts to disrupt and water down attempts to agree to a strong treaty as Obama tries to bring the whole world down to his own level of ambition”.

Certainly, with a rating of 8/100 Greenpeace have made clear that while the world’s most powerfulnation does little to address the issue of climate change, anything that occurs at Copenhagen will be futile.

Other powerful economies fared better with India’s Prime Minister Singh being lauded for his recent efforts to take on polluters. In the ranking table Singh was given a fairly good 53/100. The report stated,

“Singh has recently announced massive solar projects to accompany strong energy efficiency targets.”

However it also went on to criticise his policies regarding deforestation on the Indian sub-continent. The UK prime minister, Gordon Brown also benefited from the support his government ministers, and in particular the DECC has so far given to the solar industry in the UK with his recent announcement of the introduction of the Clean Energy Cash Back System, a feed-in tariff designed to incentivise investment in the solar industry. However, the report commented that Brown,

“Has failed to embrace renewable energy and an inability to quit coal has put the UK Prime Minister at odds with his own advisers on climate change. The EU’s wrangling over finance has left the UK unable to offer more than words to developing nations”.
The Copenhagen summit will highlight key deficiencies in global policy and will once again bring to th fore the debate in the UK regarding the feed-in tariff rate which will certainly need to be increased if Gordon Brown is to be taken seriously as a man with a real commitment to thwart the on set of global warming.