Solar Power Grants

Solar Power Grants

October 11, 2010 09:50 ET

Solar Power Grants Deems David Cameron U-turn on Feed-in Tariff Payments for Pioneers as Inequitable

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 11, 2010) - David Cameron has made a U-turn on a pre-election promise to reward those who had solar panels installed before a designated date set-out in the launch of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT), allowing them to receive the same subsidies for electricity generation as those who installed solar panels after the date. Solar Power Grants, the comprehensive guide to incentives available for installing solar technology into your home, said the Prime Minister's decision change is inequitable to those who pioneered such green technologies.

Under the Feed-in Tariff scheme for the generation of electricity using small-scale on-site renewable technologies, those who have solar panels installed onto their homes after 15 July 2009 receive 41.3p per unit of electricity in payment for the Generation Tariff. However, homeowners who had solar panels put on their properties before that date receive just 9p per KWh.

The payment difference has been heavily fought against by green campaigners who have now deemed the U-turn as a "betrayal" to those who pioneered the technology.

According to The Guardian, the Prime Minister had reportedly responded to a letter from one of his Witney constituents during the election, saying: "I agree with you that the [Labour] government's current proposals for feed-in-tariffs will unfairly penalise the very people who were the early investors in local energy.

"That is why under a Conservative government, any micro-generation technologies that have already been installed … will be eligible for the new higher tariffs once they commence."

However, last month the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, said: "I considered the issue carefully on a value-for-money basis, and I am afraid that the advice from my officials was clearly that we cannot introduce retrospection in such cases because it does not represent value for money.

"We are trying to introduce new schemes in future, and therefore, sadly, the only incentive and payback that people such as the Hon Lady and I will get is the warm glow of being pioneers."

The news comes as a hard blow to those who first installed the technology, especially after Charles Hendry, the former Conservative MP who is now Minister of State for the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said a Tory government would pay higher rates to those who installed solar panels before 15 July 2009 and a number of Liberal Democrat MP's also promised the same.

As well as the decision to not raise payments for the early installers of solar panels, there is also talk that the government could still heavily cut subsidies for the scheme with the payments considered overpriced, especially in a term when the government is being analysed for its ability to contain spending.

David Holmes, the founder of Solar Power Grants, said the decision not to up the payments for the early installers of solar PV panels and other renewable electricity generators is unjust.

Holmes said: "David Cameron's decision to go against his word to increase the Generation Tariff payments for those who had solar panels installed before 15 July 2009 is inequitable.

"Within days of becoming PM, Cameron said he wanted to make this the 'greenest government ever' and aimed to really challenge the emissions issue this country has. The Feed-in Tariff has proved to be a strong incentive for homeowners to switch to green electricity generators, but why should those who already invested in such technology not receive the same treatment? Are they not doing their part to reduce the nation's carbon emissions?

"The Lib-Con government is already coming under close scrutiny for its lack of commitment to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the potential cuts to the Feed-in Tariff subsidies just months after its launch.

"This latest decision, like every other report concerning the new government and renewable electricity and heat generation, doesn't appear to be a judgement made by the greenest government ever and casts David Cameron and the government further into a bad light in the eyes of the solar and renewables industry. "

For more information about how the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive work, please visit

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