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YouGen press release

Renewable energy pioneers angry at feed-in tariff proposals

Posted on 14 September 2009 at 2:32 pm

Early adopters of renewable energy may be worse off under the Government’s scheme to encourage more people to generate their own electricity, unless it increases the proposed rates of feed-in tariff for existing microgenerators.

The new ‘Clean Energy Cashback’ proposals are currently under consultation. Whereas new investors in microgeneration will be paid up to 36.5p1 per kWh of electricity they generate, people who installed their system before the July this year will get just 9p per kWh. Many people will take a cut in income as a result of the government’s financial incentive scheme.

Calculations done by YouGen find that most people with solar panels will be worse off by up to £70 per year. That’s a loss of £1,190 in income over the period of the feed-in tariff. This varies according to which electricity provider they are signed up with. Those currently using Good Energy, Npower of Scottish and Southern will suffer most (see below for details).

“It is strange that a  scheme that’s meant to encourage people to take up microgeneration will punish those who have lead the way,” said Cathy Debenham, founder of YouGen. “These are they people who could act as advocates and encourage take up, but many of them feel let down and cheated. Despair, disgrace, discrimination, outrage, horrified  and illogical are just some of the adjectives in emails sent to me by YouGen users.

“What worries me most is the number of respondents (both microgenerators and installers) who don’t realise the implications of the feed-in proposals. This is why we have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the proposals and to encourage people to respond to the consultation, either directly or by signing the petition.

The petition calls for all existing microgenerators (with installations of less than 50kW) to receive the same level of Clean Energy Cashback (feed-in tariff) as those who install in the first year of its introduction. This would recognise and reward them for their role in leading the way in carbon reduction, and for the substantial impact they can have in encouraging others to follow suit.

“The majority of the early adopters didn’t do it to make money,” added Cathy Debenham, “although some of the most recent ones have been encouraged by the promise of a feed-in tariff. However, they have been taken aback by the sheer inequality in reward, and understandably those whose installations are now going to take even longer to pay back are particularly unhappy.”

For more information, or to arrange interviews with existing microgenerators or installers, contact Cathy Debenham, t: 01395 597879, m: 07786 440129.

1 for a small solar photovoltaic system.

Notes to editors

Useful links:

Summary of the impacts of the feed-in tariff for existing microgenerators

Full details of the YouGen campaign for Equal cashback for microgenerators

To download the consultation document 

Price comparisons between what people currently receive and what they will under the proposed changes:
To illustrate I have used a PV system generating 2,000kWh per annum, of which £1,000 is used in the home.

British Gas – Eco Save
5p per kWh exported, plus ROCs
Current income: £50 + £180 = £230
Proposed income: £230
Income remains the same

Ecotricity
12p for every unit generated
Current income: £240
Proposed income: £230
Annual loss in income: £10  Loss over 17 year life of feed in tariff: £170

e-on – Solarnet
Regional pricing between 8.89 & 11.27p per kWh exported + ROCs
Current income: £89 - £112 + £180 = £269 - £292
Proposed income: £230
Annual loss in income: £39 - £62   Loss over 17 year life of feed in tariff: £663 - £1,054

Good Energy Home Generation
15p for every unit generated
Current income: £300
Proposed income: £180 (generated) + £50 (exported) = £230
Annual loss in income: £70   Loss over 17 year life of feed in tariff: £1,190

Npower – PV
12p per kWh exported + ROCs
Current income: £120 + £180 =£300
Proposed income: £230
Annual loss in income: £70   Loss over 17 year life of feed in tariff: £1,190

Scottish & Southern Solar Energy plus
28p exported
Current income: £280
Proposed income: £230
Annual loss in income: £70   Loss over 17 year life of feed in tariff: £1,190

Scottish & Southern – microgeneration
5p per kWh exported, plus 9.2 per kWh ROCs
Current income: £50 + £184 = £234
Proposed income: £230
Annual loss in income: £4   70   Loss over 17 year life of feed in tariff: £68

The amount saved through use of generated electricity in the home isn’t included, as that won’t change. Calculation based on two ROCs per MWh at £45. Prices based on information on Energy Saving Trust.


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