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Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

Join our Campaign for Equal Cashback

Join our Campaign for Equal CashbackThe proposed rate of Clean Energy Cashback for existing generators is unfairly low, and will lead to a cut in income for some microgenerators. We are calling for the pioneers to receive the same level of feed-in tariff as those who install in the first year of its introduction.

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The case for equal cashback

The Problem

The government's plans for a feed-in tariff discriminates against early adopters of small-scale microgeneration, some of whom will be worse off as a result of the Clean Energy Cashback (feed-in tariff) proposals. They will receive just 9p per kWh whatever size installation compared with a maximum rate of 36.5p for new small solar PV installations.

We believe that:

  • 9p per kWh is much too low. Even with the additional 5p export rate many people will be worse off under the new Clean Energy Cashback than they are under the current system. For example those on Southern Electric’s 28p export rate, and those on Good Energy’s 15p generation rate.
  • This will disillusion and anger people who can take a lead in encouraging others to invest in microgeneration. They should be rewarded for their contribution to increased knowledge of microgeneration and to carbon reduction.
  • The Renewable Obligation was complex and not suitable for microgenerators, so many people gave up on it. The Clean Energy Cashback should not be limited to those accredited under this system.
  • The government risks damaging the domestic market for renewable heat between now and when the detailed renewable heat incentive strategy is announced. If people see how existing microgenerators are being treated they may hold back on investing in solar thermal, biomass and heat pumps until they know they will be rewarded.

We are calling on the government to ensure that:

All existing microgenerators with installations of less than 50kW receive the same level of Clean Energy Cashback as those who install in the first year of its introduction.

See a summary of what the feed-tariff proposals mean for microgenerators here

1. Sign our Petition

The government has dealt a kick in the teeth to the first people to install small wind, solar and hydro generation systems. New generators will receive a guaranteed 36.5p per unit of electricity, FOUR times the amount that the people who took the risk and proved that it can work in Britain will. Some people will have their income cut as a result of the new policy. Sign the petition to call for Equal Cashback for Microgenerators.

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2. Respond to the Renewable Energy Financial Incentive consultation

The closing date for responses is 15 October 2009. Email your thoughts to:

The full consultation document can be downloaded from the Department of Energy and Climate Change website
The relevant sections are 3. Feed-in Tariffs and 4. Cross Cutting (ie how existing generators will be treated).
The key questions are:
Q51. Do you agree with the tariff levels, lifetimes and degression rates we have set out for the chosen technologies? If not, what evidence do you have for choosing alternatives?
Q64. Do you agree with the proposed approach for the treatment of existing generating stations?

3. Write to your MP

If you have already signed our petition you can add weight to the campaign by writing to your MP. While you are welcome to base your letter on our information above, it will be more powerful if you use your own words, and if possible, relate it to your own experience. Just enter your postcode below to get started:

Contact Your MP
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4. Invite your friends to support the campaign too

Just use the Share button below to invite your friends to sign the petition too.

5. Comments from existing microgenerators

"This is outrageous! It's the worst possible thing this government can do to us. I've got 2.16 kW peak solar PV system that works perfectly. At the moment I get 28p/kWh exported and with what I save by using some produced power myself I will make over £500 this year from my solar panels. The new payments will give me less than half that. It's despicable. It is 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 have devised themselves (government). It's the worst kind of discrimination." - AL

"I installed a wind turbine in February this year. I did it because we are in an area of good wind and I also wanted to be a role model which would encourage others to follow. I believe very strongly that we should be encouraging as many as possible to use renewable energy. I thought the Government thought likewise. By their proposals they are kicking in the teeth those who led the way. I feel that we deserve a bonus for leading the way and taking a risk in so doing. I want to go on spreading the word - instead I feel let down by the very people who are now wanting others to follow us. This is not an encouragement to those of us who the government presumably want to see spreading the word." - HS

"it is totally iniquitous for those like me who wanted to do all they could to promote carbon dioxide emissions reduction in a multitude of ways other than just installing solar PV. I feel the government ought to be thankful for people like me, who are prepared to act in the national and international interest. Instead of that, it is proposed that we are rewarded with a slap in the face. The more I think about it the more immoral it seems to become." - CD

"I am really horrified by this news. My solar panels were fitted in June of this year and this was after much deliberation and budgeting. I went ahead because I believe everyone should do whatever they can to help reduce our carbon footprint and it is no good waiting for someone else to do it first. I thought the existing, buy back price was good but had heard that this figure was likely to rise next year which was the deciding factor of whether I could afford to have the panels installed. Anyone who is generating renewable electricity now is a pioneer and should be rewarded for 'getting the ball rolling'. Apart from that we are also the people who are constantly encouraging others to get involved, I have two friends who are now going ahead with a solar installation because I have persuaded them how worthwhile it is." - DW