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« Duelling models | Main | Carwyn's car crash »
Friday
Aug282015

FITs to burst

It's not a good day to be a green or a crony capitalist: the government has announced its proposals on feed-in-tariffs and it makes pretty ugly reading for all those who feed at the trough of government subsidies.

The headline news is that rooftop solar subsidies are going to be slashed from 12.6p to a token 1.6p per kWh. All those claims that solar is close to being cost-competitive with traditional forms of electricity are therefore now going to be given a fairly rigorous testing. If the claims are true then we can look forward to solar panels spreading to every rooftop.

And if they are not, it will mean the end of all those cold calls.

[Updated to reflect that these are proposals rather than commitments]

 

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Reader Comments (28)

If the claims are true then I we can look forward to solar panels spreading to every rooftop.

And if they are not, it will mean the end of all those cold calls.


Typo aside, the sentiment's right.

But more importantly it will mean the end of the regressive taxation of the poor to subsidise the rich.

If you have a house with a large roof and can afford the installation - you could get those struggling to heat a flat to pay you a bonus for buying Chinese panels.

That was very unfair.
There ought to be a tax on solar panel installations to pay back the poor and subsidise their fuel bills instead.

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Those with an opinion may wish to respond to the consultation.

The questions are on Page 26 of the DECC doc.

Electronic response:

https://econsultation.decc.gov.uk/office-for-renewable-energy-deployment-ored/fit-review-2015

Online Survey:

https://econsultation.decc.gov.uk/office-for-renewable-energy-deployment-ored/fit-review-2015/consultation/intro/view

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

I'm happily feeding at the trough, having had PV fitted while the going was good. I agree with M Courtney that the system was unfair. For a long time I could not bring myself to install panels for the very reason he gives, but then my greed and avarice overcame my sense of solidarity with my fellow man and I thought 'sod it, I can't afford not to'.

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

The US term for this is 'boondoggle', a subsidy-feeding frenzy designed to enrich crony capitalists but with a sop to the Public in that they too could claim a small part of the loot from raping the poor.

Huhne the loon, Barking mad and Hendry potting his loot have a lot to answer for.

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

A salutary lesson for those still wet enough to believe that governments can be trusted, that long term undertakings can be embarked on, on the back of a politicians word. Government, like practically all institutions, is squandering the trust that it has taken generations to build up, for the sake of short-term advantage (elect me next time folks!). Which is not to say FITs for solar is a silly idea and well done to HMG for repealing it, how much better would it have been if the greedy, silly, needy children who form our government (political elite hahaha) had not introduced them in the first place.

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

I was never convinced that solar on the roof was such a good deal, even with the 'generous' tariffs. The pay back was too long (if you did the assessment using DCF), and there was too much risk. And they're (a) ugly, and (b) you have to deal with removing them at the end.

So: good riddance, and farewell to the spivs.

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

It looks like large wind turbines (>1500kW) will have the tariff completely removed.

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

A welcome, albeit minor, outbreak of sanity.

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I posted about this yesterday on the previous thread and linked to the consultation. All 32 questions are in Annex A of the consultation document. Everybody should take a few minutes responding to the important questions.

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The scaffolding alone will cost you at least £500, panels are several grand, house electrics need modification, labour costs plus profit. Clearly, the whole thing rests on subsidies, nobody already on-grid would dream of spending so much for so little.

Solar only makes sense for properties that are off-grid, end of.

Aug 28, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

PB

I've only just finished responding to the last consultation!

Aug 28, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Is there any point in taking the time to respond to the consultation? eg. Will a large number of people agreeing with the proposals help the government justify going ahead with them? Or is it a complete waste of time?

Aug 28, 2015 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

At least they aren't taxing solar panel installations like in Spain.....yet!

Aug 28, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Chris,

It's always a good idea to give politicians an excuse to do the right thing. Also, you might have a better proposal or better idea for implementation than they have.

As an example they are proposing that new extensions to current installations do not come under FIT, I would like to see this extended so that any turbine/solar panel that breaks and is replaced does not come under FIT.

Aug 28, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

The Telegraph today was ambiguous on the subject but at one point stated categorically that existing installations will not be affected. If that's so, its typical of the government's making big announcements then just fiddling around the edges.

Aug 28, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterVernonE

Existing owners are not affected by these proposals so, at least 7GW (today) of troughing will continue for the coming decades (some at 50p/kWh).

The trough installers managed to install more than 2.5GW of troughs in Q1 2015, so, in the ensuing panic to beat the deadline, the chances are there will be a total of at least 12GW of troughing by 31 December 2015.

Trebles all round.

Solar PV is a threat not only to the peasants' wallets and the grid inertia problem but it also must be having a major downward effect on the income of coal and gas fired generators, already suffering from the ever increasing wind penetration.

Before January 2010 (0.032GW trough nameplate when the "solar PV solution" started to take off), they could at least depend on the reliable daytime increase in demand over base load to make a living.

However, today, (and nobody knows except National GreenBlog Grid - maybe) that 7GW of troughs could well deliver between 11am and 4pm, say for example, a 20GWh hump of generation which will have to displace 20GWh of coal and/or gas income to keep the grid frequency stable at 50c/s. At £50/MWh that is a loss of income of £1,000,000 between them.

A good, bright 5 day week and that is £5,000,000 displaced.

On top of that there is also the loss of income caused by wind.

Because these unreliables require back up from coal and gas fired power stations it is unsustainable to keep allowing these unreliable sources to be deployed. Proper Power stations are closing because they cannot make a living, Longannet being the latest example.

National GreenBlob recognises this problem and has already committed £1 billion of Capacity Mechanism to secure 53GW of reliable generation for Winter 2018/2019.

There are no new coal fired power station in the pipeline.

There is a CCGT pipeline (some approved by DECC many years ago) but only one is under construction today - Carrington (800MW of peanuts) and even that is not in the £1 billion Capacity Mechanism boondoggle.

The only solution, soon to be faced by Scotland on April Fool's Day 2016 as Longannet is buried, is to shut down completely the existing 20GW of solar and wind fired unreliable generation.

Only then can Proper Power stations survive to keep us, cheaply, in the manner to which we have become accustomed.

Aug 28, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Many moons ago before solar subsidies a chap came round to discuss putting a solar system on my roof.
Despite the large expanse of roof available and a heating and cooking bill driven primarily by kerosene costs the salesman could not prove an economic benefit and departed frustrated.
If only there had been government largesse available then.....

Aug 28, 2015 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRbravery

Some of these piggies will go back to selling timeshare, double glazing, pensions, etc etc.

As one trough empties, another full one will be found. The snorkers can sniff them out.

Aug 28, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Just spotted...an impromptu spontaneous outburst of popular feeling about the recent derailment and catastrophic destruction of the green gravy train...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a37bBm8pXSk

PS Does anyone have a spare picture of the delightful Ms Rudd?

Now I don't need to throw poison darts at images of the Madmen Huhne and Davey, I need something to hide a messy stain that's lying there.

Aug 28, 2015 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

As it happens I received a cold call only yesterday from a guy punting solar. I told him I'd never invest because the entire market was bogus due to government subsidy and legislation compelling energy co's to buy overpriced solar electricity. Any market that is rigged by the government is also at risk of being 'un-rigged' by a subsequent government, as is now exactly the case.

The good news keeps on coming too, as it's going to be great fun watching hysterical eco-whack jobs froth at the mouth at this development.

Aug 28, 2015 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

VernonE

The Telegraph today was ambiguous on the subject but at one point stated categorically that existing installations will not be affected.
As one of the commenters pointed out under the DT article, there is such a thing as the law of contract. With our current crop of activist judges making it up as they go along I'm not sure whether government can change the laws to suit itself these days. Even if they claim "national interest".
But if it puts a brake on the scam that would be a start, and I agree with TerryS. What you have you get paid for. Any change and the subsidy doesn't apply.

Aug 28, 2015 at 4:17 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Anybody who has had solar fitted without full battery backup and is taking the "FIT" is an absolute bastard..

Fucking the poor for profit, please find some fully powered 240v bare wires and grab hold till you fucking fry it's all you deserve.

Aug 28, 2015 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered Commenternot impressed

Very similar to what has happened here in Australia - the FIT has been reduced to a very small amount.

Still a lot of solar being installed.

It can in some cases (in some countries) make economic sense for a householder - depends on sunshine and your power consumption.

Aug 29, 2015 at 4:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterWally

I see that the UK FIT was running at GBP 0.50 / kW-hr, which is very silly indeed. Where I live in Australia it used to be A$0.44 / kW-hr (GBP 0.50 is about A$0.75).

Back in those days, the local electricity rate was around A$0.20 / kW-hr, so the FIT was about twice the price of normal power.

Over time the FIT has been reduced. When it dropped below the cost of normal power, I put in solar.

The reason is very simple: where I live we have long hot summers - lots of sun, and the daytime temperatures range from 30 to 45 degrees C. We use a LOT of summer a/c.

The last straw for me was the introcution of the carbon tax (since repealed, thankfully); which popped power prices up another 10%. I was so angry that I went and looked at the economic benefit to ME ALONE of installing it. I know solar is not good for the grid, and makes poor long term economic sense.

But when our summer power prices reached A$0.38 / kW-hr, it was time to act instead of ranting.

So my reasoning for putting in solar was very simple: It would dramatically cut my summer power bills to run the a/c. Anything else is a bonus (eg running the dishwaster on a timed-start cycle in the middle of the day).

The benefits finanicially are the consumption forgone gives me a benefit of A$0.38 / kW-hr.

I did a very simple calculation - look at the rated capacity, discount by 30% for reality, discount further for an hours-of-the-day-when useful factor, assume only useful in summer, and assume no payment of FIT at all. (A pretty extreme financial case).

The result was kind of staggering: going for an expensive install (40% more than some competing systems); I could generate a tax-free return on my investment of about 16% pa. And cut my summer power bills down to about 1/3 of previous.

At the same time, where I live, those hot summer days are the worst cases for the power grid, those are the days when everything is stretched, transformers fail, feeder lines fail, and the power utilities have been telling us for years that they need to spend billions to tart things up to get through "about 10 days a year".

So putting in solar cuts my demand on the grid in its worst case peak days, and saves me a LOT of money. My whole financial case relies on no FIT.

Oh, and I completely refused to do any of this until the FIT was below the price of normal power - otherwise its snouts in trough time - rob thy neighbour. With the FIT below the price of normal power, I'm not gouging anyone so the case is more morally sound.

Its still lousy for grid stability and the long term economics of baseload power generators. But politicians don't think like that, or understand any of this.

Aug 29, 2015 at 4:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterWally

What was that comment allegedly attributed to David Cameron about "getting rid of all that green crap"?
A modest start , it seems.

Aug 29, 2015 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterHerbert

Hopefully this should end the 'derating' scam where developers derate large turbines in order to qualify for a higher tariff.

In our area we have an example at Folly Farm/Steps of Grace, Berwick-upon-Tweed (next to the A1).

The maximum output of this74m Enercon E48 turbine was reduced by 37.5% to 500kW from the manufacturer’s rated capacity of 800kW after planning permission was granted. At 500kW it currently ‘earns’ a Feed-in Tariff rate of 18.04p/kWh compared to 9.79p/kWh for an 800kW turbine. An ‘export tariff’ of 4.64p/kWh is then added, giving a total of 22.68p/kWh at the higher rate.

The average wholesale price for electricity is around 5p/kWh.

Aug 30, 2015 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBillB

Bish, there's a comment below by somebody called "not impressed" with some rude words. Needs snipping.

Aug 31, 2015 at 7:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

@BillB: So, you can put in the largest turbine you like, pretend it's smaller, and rake in the subsidy for a small one, even though the total you're claiming proves it isn't a small one? Surely even Huhne didn't write the rules so that this is possible? Surely?

Aug 31, 2015 at 8:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

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