Thursday, November 17, 2011

Victoria's Green Matters - 17th Nov 2011

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
Our government has pledged to be the ‘greenest government ever’ but has this last week scored an own goal when it comes to feed-in tariffs (Fits) with regard to energy generation from solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels.

Fits are the amount of money paid per unit of electricity generated by a PV installation and this is 43p until 12 December when it becomes 21p. We have known all along that they would be reduced from next April but for some reason the government has brought this day forward to December 12 this year and has announced that it will cut the level by half.

An even greater, and much less publicised, change that will take place from next April is that homes will have to comply with energy efficiency measures to qualify for payment of Fits. The level of qualification is set so high that many homeowners will find the cost prohibitive.

Many schemes for social housing to have PV panels fitted, paid for by the local council who then receive the Fits to reinvest with the householder benefiting from the free electricity generated will no longer be viable.

Probably the worst result of this short-term thinking will be the effect on the burgeoning solar industry. Our country needs good, long-term jobs in new, clean industries and just as the solar industry was building up speed and employing 25,000 people, these cuts have been announced. Let us hope that proposed legal challenges and protests have the desired effect.

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