Posts tagged with: We support solar campaign

The We Support Solar group has launched a campaign for the government to add 10p to the proposed feed-in tariff, set to be implemented in the first quarter of 2010. The introduction of a UK feed-in tariff was set out by the government in July and has given the We Support Solar group some cause for concern regarding the long term effectiveness of making the UK solar industry competitive with those of Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. In a move set to highlight certain deficiencies in the proposed tariff legislation the We Support Solar website is currently urging people to petition MPs via their website with suggestions for the tariff before the consultation period finishes within the next few weeks.

The main concern among the solar industry lobby, most vociferously voiced by the members of We Support Solar, is that the rate paid by energy companies for electricity by means of solar energy will not be high enough to attract investment in the new UK sector. Indeed, the We Support Solar website has quoted that a failure to act on this particular piece of legislation would see the UK fail to catch up with its EU competitors on solar installation.

Citing the benefits of adding 10p to the proposed feed-in tariff the We Support Solar website claims the following advantages for the UK economy:

  • 28,000 UK skilled solar power jobs by 2014
  • Over 400,000 new residential solar PV installations by 2014
  • Additional investment in UK solar PV manufacturing building on established centres in Wrexham, South Wales and County Durham


Certainly, with the announcement from Downing Street this year that Gordon Brown is planning to instigate a ‘green new deal’, using new renewable energies to revitalise the flagging economy, government action following the consultancy process will be under the microscope. The online campaign ultimately requests that MPs contact Ed Milliband, Secretary of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to lay out these specific demands. Whether or not the government does act to introduce a truly workable tariff system will determine whether recent rhetoric represents a real desire to fight climate change or merely court the ‘green’ lobby at a difficult time for Brown’s premiership.

For more information on the campaign, please visit:

The Federation representing Roofing contractors in the UK has lent its support to the We Support Solar campaign. The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), along with a number of other key members of the industry have joined the campaign to assert the notion of a feed-in tariff which if implemented properly will be a powerful way of kick starting solar investment in the UK.

The feed-in tariff, currently in the consultancy stage with the government, if introduced would offer long-term contracts with fixed rates for electricity produced by small scale installations. In other countries such as Spain and Germany it has proved to be a successful way of enticing investment by offering reliable yields over a long period of time. In this way, the feed-in tariff would also help create a number of jobs and also lead to the growth of the green energy manufacturing sector.

Since Gordon Brown’s statements regarding the ‘Green new deal’ in which he expressed his ideas to help the economy through the development of a low carbon economy, there has been an even greater focus on the real viability of solar, particularly if helped by government legislation. Many members of the industry have therefore been keen to bring to the fore the necessity of a strong feed-in tariff offering rates which will make solar investment a healthy, viable alternative to fossil fuels.

NFRC are fully aware of the potential impact of photovoltaic technology (PV) on both roofing, and construction in general as more and more private and public buildings are built with solar panels and PV tiles.

“The NFRC fully support the need for a robust feed-in tariff to encourage the uptake of solar in the UK. The time has come for roofs to be active parts of a building to help meet the national CO2 targets, to provide a viable solution to meet challenging future building regulations, and to support a generation of new jobs for roofers who are eager to become involved in the emerging green economy. A strong FIT for solar will help tackle the triple challenge of credit, energy and climate,” commented Ray Horwood Chief Executive of NFRC.

Sharp Solar announced last week that they will begin to match their photovoltaic (PV) products to individual customer needs in a move designed to meet the needs of the housing trade. Sharp Solar, part of the Japanese electronics company Sharp spoke last week during the Ecobuild exhibition in London and reaffirmed the massive popularity of Solar roofing systems. Sharp Solar announced that interest in PV systems has grown dramatically and that Ecobuild has also highlighted a growing desire from businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and of course hopefully benefit from government schemes which will come in to lay in 2010

The new PV systems will be part of a bespoke service which will allow a choice of colours and more importantly, can be installed on roofs more easily making the possibility of future retrofitting much more convenient as the systems can be locked in to place on brackets. The new ‘Slot and Play’ system which was exhibited in Earls Court last week will offer value to new low carbon projects across the UK where buildings are fitted with the latest PV technology.

Key to the success of companies such as Sharp Solar is the highly popular feed-in tariff, due to be introduced next year by the UK government. Members of the industry have, since November’s Energy legislation and the creation of the Energy and Climate Change department been highly supportive of the tariff system as they believe it will give a much needed kick start to renewable investment as it has done for example in Germany.

Solar Sharp have given their backing to the ‘We Support Solar Campaign’ along with other leading members of the industry, providing a lobby which is seeking to push solar to the forefront of the energy debate and seek key government legislation and funding which will be paramount to the initial success of investment in Photovoltaic technology in this country.

The crucial factor in the success or failure of the solar industry will of course be the feed-in tariff, designed to spur the growth of investment in the renewable sector by guaranteeing long-term, healthy yields to investors. The long-term contracts set a fixed, above market rate for megawatts fed in to the national grid by small (systems under 5MW), green energy producers. The fixed rate for the renewable energy is paid by the power companies, the additional costs of which are absorbed by all consumers adding a small amount to monthly utility bills. Certainly, in order to keep apace with the infrastructure of areas such as Germany and California many believe that the government should set a rate of around 50p/kWh unit generated and the ‘We support Solar Campaign’ will make this clear when they produce their research findings to the government at the end of March.

Regarding the possible findings of the report, Andrew Lee of Sharp Solar commented,

“I can’t pre-empt what it is going to say, but there’s a lot of work being done on feed-in tariffs. There are a number of different options how feed-in tariffs would work, and certain job creation scenarios. There could be 300,000 to 400,000 people in this market if the feed-in tariff is fit for purpose.”

In a show of support for the possible introduction of a feed-in tariff, the UK solar industry, led by the UK Solar PV Manufacturers Association has launched its ‘We support solar campaign’. Following last years Energy Bill, there is now a real probability of a coherent feed-in tariff law being established in the UK

The feed-in tariff is government legislation which attracts investment and promotes growth in the renewable energy sector by making it a financially viable option. This is done by guaranteeing a fixed, premium rate for energy fed-into the national grid from renewable energy suppliers. The added cost of producing energy by renewable means is therefore offset by the fixed rates that the traditional energy companies are obliged to pay for the green Megawatts.

The feed-in tariff contracts will provide small renewable installations (generally under 5MW) with a steady revenue stream and it is believed that this will help spread the ‘green’ message into communities. Around 30 MPs are now backing the take up of a serious feed-in tariff policy, as has been seen in places like Germany and California where they have been successful. The government has hinted strongly that they will be looking to mirror feed-in tariff systems implemented abroad and there is growing pressure both from leading renewable energy producers and environmental groups alike for their adoption in the UK.

Former UK government minister, Michael Meacher has given his support to the feed-in tariff and Environment and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Milliband by saying,

“Ed Miliband’s decision to introduce a feed-in tariff for solar PV and other small-scale renewable electricity technologies is potentially a real turning point for the UK solar PV sector. It gives the UK a vital new policy tool that should help to maximise the contribution from solar PV to our demanding renewable energy target.”