Existing generators angry at feed-in cuts to income
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 September 2009 at 8:32 am
Feed-in tariffs are designed to incentivise people to invest in renewable sources of energy generation. Yet, the government's proposals will give much lower rates to existing microgenerators, leading to a cut in income for many.
This seems a perverse move from government. The numbers of micro wind, solar and hydro installations in the UK is small. By setting the Clean Energy Cashback (feed-in tariff) at such a comparatively low rate for the early adopters they only make a small financial saving. In return they make a huge loss in good will. These people are enthusiasts who could be their greatest advocates for encouraging take up. Instead they are angry and disillusioned.
Alan Langmaid is one of those affected. He has solar panels on his home in Devon, and currently gets 28p from his energy company for every kWh generated - an income of about £500 a year. When he goes to the new system, he will get 9p for each kWh generated, plus 5p for each unit exported, virtually halving his return.
“It's despicable," he says. "Unfair and is done for the very worst reasons - to attract people financially while punishing those of us who pioneered PV at our own expense and risk. It's unethical, immoral and surely breaks every equality law they [government] have devised themselves."
Richard Barnett, owner of Veggie Barn in Hampshire, is also disappointed. He gets Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) payments, plus 12p per kWh for exported electricity, on his 4.2 kW photovoltaic system. This adds up to income of £570 a year. Under the proposals he would get £437 a year. If he had waited and installed the system now, he'd get £1064 a year.
"I installed a 4.2kw pv system just over three years ago as a mark of support for the need to boost renewables. As a 'pioneer' I have had to negotiate various changes in the system including having to change the type of meter I had in order to qualify for ROCs. The suggestion that I should be discriminated against because I was an early adopter is something I strongly object to."
By Cathy Debenham
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