Forget the feed-in tariff; it's all about energy
Posted by David Hunt on 11 June 2012 at 9:04 am
In the last few years the UK went solar panel crazy, with fantastic return on investment opportunities businesses and home-owners alike fell in love with feed-in tariffs and their lovely shiny solar panels.
In the main that was a good thing. Businesses grew in the sector, lots of lovely green energy is now being produced, carbon emissions have been decreased and lots of people have made a good return on their money in these tough times.
The government though has put a stop to that with illegal tariff rate drops, unnecessary court cases, and now legal but lethal tariff rate drops; in the main a bad thing.
Why only ‘in the main’? Well the solar boom was brilliant in many ways, but it also skewed the market and customers away from what is the real issue facing them as home-owners and businesses: energy. Energy cost and energy security.
When we created Eco Environments five years ago our intention was to address the energy needs of homes and businesses, and we have done that to an extent, despite the huge focus on solar (from which we and hundreds of companies benefited greatly I don’t deny). But hopefully now the conversation can get back to the core issue: energy. How can you reduce your energy consumption, how can you generate your own energy? What is the best technology or mix of technologies to help you achieve your objectives?
If you are a home or business with a high hot water demand, then solar thermal makes more sense. If you have a large electricity demand, and open fields, maybe a wind turbine is best for you. If you are one of the thousands of homes or businesses using oil or LPG gas for your heating, a heat pump could be the best option, or better still combining a heat pump with solar PV.
Regardless of what type of business you are, retail, manufacturing, distribution, farming or services, if your lighting is older than 4-5 years old, just changing to an energy efficient scheme could save you up to 90% of your lighting costs. As a home owner, does your kitchen or bathroom glow with lovely sparkly spot lights? Replacing them with LED lights can reduce your lighting costs by 90% quite easily (beware buying LEDs though, cheap is seldom cheerful).
This is and always has been our ideal, like many in our industry. The companies in it for the long haul, the companies that take care to become specialists in their field. The companies that strive to provide the best solution, or combination of solutions based on each customer's needs, energy costs, property, energy usage patterns and of course budget. Companies that you will find on YouGen.
There is still a market for solar PV. It is still a great technology. But, hopefully now people and business owners will think more broadly about their energy use and costs, about how they can reduce use, and about how they can generate their own energy.
Let's turn the conversation from a fixation on feed-in tariffs to one about energy. Making your home or business a more efficient environment with lower running costs and lower carbon emissions. If that is a conversation you want to have, look no further than the recommended companies here on YouGen.
About the author: David Hunt was Head of Commercial for Renewable Solutions UK Ltd. He no longer works in the renewable energy sector.
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