The UK feed-in tariff: anticipation is met with disappointment


Since the feed-in tariff policy has been deliberated by the UK government for three months now, it seems odd that we haven’t heard a peep from them on what the policy will be. As I dug a bit further into this subject I found that it I wasn’t alone in not knowing what was going on. After being thrown from person to person at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, I finally found someone who knew what a feed-in tariff was, and I was able to get some, although rather vague, answers.

Considering the UK is so far behind its European neighbours in the race for renewable energy implementation, the Department of Energy and Climate Change consultation’s results have been much anticipated. Speaking with a DECC spokesperson I delved a little deeper into the mystery of why nothing is yet set in stone. Back in July this year PV-tech commented on this proposal’s flimsiness in terms of what these plans actually meant for  the UK’s renewable future. We thought it was important to outline that there was a proposal, but also to make note of the fact that any aspect of it could change at any point. One thing we now know for sure is that there will be a renewable energy structure and this will be implemented in April 2010.

This however, is all we know.

When speaking with the DECC it became more and more clear that the UK’s plans for this policy are still very much up in the air. The first thing I asked was whether or not anything has actually come out of the consultation period. “We have had a large number of responses to the consultation paper, around 800 of these coming thorough in the last days before it closed,” they explained.  “These responses outlined several alternatives to the proposals, some of them showing a common theme, others a unique response…we are now spending time going through these responses.”

It was clear from this reply that the influx of responses to the consultation paper was slightly unexpected. I thought about this, and whether it would hold up the policy details further. The DECC assured me that the target for the policy implementation would remain on schedule, with the plans put into action by April 2010. The deadline for the results of the consultation period will be put down on paper no later than February 2010, yet no specific timeline could be issued in regards to this. “I really couldn’t say when this will come out,” they remarked.

Further investigation needed to be done about what these alternative proposals put forward were; however, as expected, the DECC would give me no clue other than there were some, and that there were many. One, which I queried the Department about, was the 10p increase in the tariff being fought for by groups such as the ‘We Support Solar’ campaigners. I managed to get out of the spokesperson that this was being considered, however he did not want to give any details about the likelihood of its execution.

The DECC did allude to the fact that the 10p proposal was more likely to pass, as, “there are certainly a lot of people supporting this change.” The group is not only backed by those supporting PV in the UK but also ‘green’ campaigners and politicians including Jeremy Leggett, chairman of SolarCentury, Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Spokesperson and Nick Sireau, Solar Aid Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK.

More unique proposals from individuals are likely to be swept under the carpet.

It seems then, after much anticipation, that we are none the wiser when it comes to what will happen in regards to the UK renewables policy. The DECC made it clear that any of the details in the original proposal could change and none of it is yet certain. One has to wonder why this document was released with great expectations, when in fact it was simply designed to test the waters in the UK. None of the UK’s solar plans are yet tangible, so again, we’ll just have to wait and see. 

23 August 2022
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil, on August 23–25, 2022, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry. In 2021 – despite the Covid-19 pandemic – Intersolar South America welcomed more than 28,000 visitors and over 1,000 conference attendees over 3 days. 200+ providers showcased their products. Combining local and international expertise, Intersolar South America brings together the PV and solar thermal sector to discuss the current status and strategic trends for Latin American PV markets, as well as technology innovations and new business opportunities. Overall, distributed generation is still driving momentum in the Brazilian market. Get 10% off with code 38LCF6KN
6 September 2022
Intersolar Mexico sits at the cross-section of photovoltaics, solar heating & cooling technologies, and energy storage. The event serves as the industry’s go-to source for invaluable technology trends and premier B2B contacts in the promising Mexican solar market. From September 6–8, 2022 Intersolar Mexico together with the co-located The GREEN Expo® and Aquatech Mexico will take place in Centro Citibanamex, Mexico City.
7 September 2022
The demand for rooftop solar PV is soaring, driven by falling costs of the technology against energy crises that are gripping countries globally. But while an increasing number of households turn to solar to generate their own electricity, there is now a need for more specialist equipment, technologies and services to ensure the solar transition can reach as many customers as possible. Delivering these is now a major challenge for rooftop solar installers. This webinar will analyse the characteristics of the rooftop solar market, discussing how the products, logistics, installation and servicing of solar systems has evolved in line with consumer demands.
14 September 2022
Join us in London for 2 days as we look at the UK’s new landscape for utility & rooftop solar. Understand the new opportunities within this GW-plus annual market!
15 September 2022
Bifacial PV modules will be the dominant solar PV technology globally within one or two years; in the utility-scale sector, their market share is already above 70%. This webinar will provide a clear view on the successful implementation of bifacial technology, maximizing system performance and minimising LCoE.
19 September 2022
RE+ 2022 is the umbrella event that includes SPI, ESI, RE+ Power, and RE+ Infrastructure. As North America's largest renewable energy event, it's a catalyst for industry innovation that's supercharging business growth in the clean energy economy.

Read Next

August 11, 2022
The US government Department of Energy is looking for public input into how US$675 million of funding for R&D into Critical Materials should be best directed.
August 11, 2022
German project developer Energiequelle has entered the Polish renewables market with an eye on 30 projects with more than 1GW of capacity.
August 11, 2022
EDF Renewable Energy has reached full power operation of its 457MW ‘Palen Solar Project’ located on public lands in the south of California.
August 11, 2022
The financial adversity of India’s struggling distribution companies (Discoms) has been reflected in a significant downgrading in the latest rankings by the Ministry of Power, giving yet more concern for renewable energy players
August 11, 2022
Finlay Colville, Solar Media's head of market research, lays out the UK's path to achieving 40GW+ of solar PV by 2030 after rebounding from recent headwinds in its solar sector
August 11, 2022
Michigan utility DTE Energy has signed an agreement with automaker Ford to supply 650MW of solar PV in Michigan.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
September 7, 2022
15:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Solar Media Events
September 14, 2022
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event