UK Feed in Tariff scheme gives big boost to Solar PV market

Thursday 7 October 2010

A new report suggests that the outlook for the Renewable Energy market in the UK has never been sunnier. In their report on the UK PV Market 2010, Industry analysts Solarbuzz, show that the UK Feed in Tariff scheme has already produced a huge increase in the number of Solar PV installations across the UK.

The UK Government, past and present, has set itself the target of boosting the UK Green Economy and the creation of many thousands of Green jobs. And it now looks as though the UK Feed in Tariff scheme is on its way to doing just that.

Introduced in April 2010, the UK Feed in tariff scheme (also known as the Clean Energy Cashback Scheme) offers domestic households and other small-scale electricity generators up to 41.3p per kilowatt hour for all electricity produced. There is also the benefit of saving on bills by not having to buy so much electricity from the Grid at approximately 13p per kilowatt hour. A further 3p kilowatt hour is also available for exporting any electricity produced.

Typically this could generate an income of £800 per household from the UK Feed in Tariff; a saving on the electricity bill of £100 and a payment of £25 for exported electricity (assuming 50% used and 50% exported).

The report shows that the regions benefiting most from the growth in residential Solar PV installations are the South East and South West regions which account for 45% (in terms of the number of Megawatts installed). This geographical slant is hardly surprising given the higher irradiation levels in those parts of the UK. However, detailed analysis has shown that systems installed further north, in locations such as Leeds, Newcastle and even Scotland, still perform at a sufficiently high level for the FiT scheme to produce generous returns on investment.

Alan Turner, Vice President of Solarbuzz Europe concludes that ‘no major company can afford to ignore this market opportunity’

National companies, such as British Gas, M&S, Tesco, and Eaga have already entered the market with many of them offering ‘free to install’ Solar PV systems. This enables them to claim the Feed in Tariff with the householders benefiting from the free electricity produced.

Alongside the major companies and the well established SME Solar PV companies, many smaller organisations have now entered the market to meet the growing demand. All companies installing Solar PV must be accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) in order for the customer to claim the Feed in Tariff.

One company helping to meet this demand by providing customers with three quotes from MCS accredited installers is EnergyLink Ltd.

EnergyLink already have a national coverage of MCS accredited installers, but the growing demand both from Solar PV customers, and the growing number of non-MCS accredited installers, has seen them set up a consultancy service to help installers through the MCS process.

So with system owners earning healthy returns on their investment, and with a growing bank of installers gearing up to enter the market, the UK seems set to move towards a greener economy and the creation of thousands of green jobs.

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