It was recently reported on this blog that a large proportion of the UK had never heard of the feed in tariff. It was speculated that this was probably one of the main reasons that so many people still thought that having solar panels installed was not a financially viable option. At the same time, however, the feed in tariff has been the driving force which has made it so that solar energy has become a lot more popular in this country, directly because it makes solar panels a better financial investment. However there are still some concerns that the feed in tariff is leading to a certain type of investment in solar energy which was not intended. So we’ll now explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of feed in tariffs.
Feed in Tariffs: The Good
Since the introduction of the feed in Tariff in April last year there has been a huge uptake of solar energy. In fact the rate for 2009 was doubled in 2010 within six months of it being brought in. What is the reason behind this? Simply put, the feed in tariff makes your solar panels make you money. How it works is this: solar panels are producing solar energy whenever the sun is shining on them, and while you will use much of this energy in your house, you will not use all of it. With the feed in tariff though, for all of the energy which you do not use, and which is fed back to the national grid, you will be earning money. At the moment the feed in tariff is at the rate that it was introduced at, around 43p per unit of energy. This might not sound very much but it adds up quickly, and significantly cuts down the amount of time that it takes for the solar panels to pay for themselves, and start making you profits.
This government scheme was brought in particularly to assist home owners, but also applies to businesses (and now, local government). But why might that be bad?
Feed in Tariffs: The Bad
The feed in tariff scheme is so good that there have been plenty of companies looking to cash in on it by building solar energy farms. Of course there is nothing particularly wrong with this, the UK could do with some solar energy plants as well. The problem the government has with it, however, is that they will not be able to keep the feed in tariffs at the rates they have them at for very long if companies are installing lots of solar panels at solar energy plants. This means that home owners will end up missing out. There is also a concern that this will lead to the misuse of farmland, which could be being used to grow food, but will be used to produce solar energy instead because of the feed in tariff.
Feed in Tariffs: The Ugly
Solar energy helps to save the Earth’s environment by reducing the amount of energy that has to be produced in less clean ways. Nevertheless, some people still complain that solar panels make houses look ugly, and of course with the feed in tariff there have been even more installations of solar cells, making more houses “ugly”. So perhaps the feed in tariff is making more houses ugly, but it is also helping to keep the Earth beautiful.
And now is a great time for everyone to get involved, especially with the feed in tariff being offered at what will probably be its maximum rate.