The potential for UK feed-in tariff changes



Possible changes to the recently introduced feed-in tariff (FiT) in the UK are being mooted, according to media reports. The Solar Power Portal, sister-site to PV-Tech and dedicated to the UK PV market, has heard rumors about the possibility that cuts may be made to the tariff prior to the 2012 official review and has produced this update. A Financial Times article published on Friday 24th September alludes to the fact that at this weeks Liberal Democrat conference apparent back room talks have taken place. 

The fear is that the coalition government could cut the incentives for solar installations as adoption rates have soared to over 10,000 since the FiT was introduced in April, 2010, according to Ofgem figures.

According to the FT report, cuts could be made before the proposed review, initially put in place when the FiT was launched.

The Renewable Energy Association’s Solar Power Group has sought clarification from the government and the official response from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the body responsible for the tariff, is that currently DECC is not considering any changes but that under the spending review due out on the 20th of October it may be considered by treasury.

It should be noted that the UK FiT is not a levy on taxpayers, rather via a small increase over time to electricity prices that consumers pay. 

Language used in the FT report suggests that the FiT is seen as “generous,” though compared to other countries FiT systems, is clearly in the cluster of typical tariffs adopted, especially in Europe.

The timing of the review and lack of clarity over the motives behind the review have already sparked consternation from the fledgling solar industry in the country.

The government’s position on the matter will not be known until the results of the comprehensive spending review is announced on the 20th of October. Alan Whitehead, MP and chair of PRASEG, the parliamentary body that looks at renewables in the UK and David Wagstaff, Head of Distributed Energy at DECC, will both be speaking at an upcoming industry conference, Solar Power UK, on the 18-19 October in London.


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