The potential changes to the Feed in Tariff (FiTs) scheme have caused ripples within the building services industry. As part of the ‘Cut Don’t Kill’ campaign, the Solar Trade Association (STA), along with others in the sector, is taking a stand with a mass lobby on Government on November 22nd. Talking to members this week, Howard Johns, Chairman of the STA stated the following reasons for joining the protest:
Timing: “Bringing in the changes to the FIT before they have finished consulting is possibly unlawful and certainly highly destructive. We as an industry really need to send a strong signal that we do not want to cooperate with Government, but that we really will not stand for this level of bad treatment. It is totally unacceptable to have the goal posts changed in this way and we must make that clear to the decision makers or they will keep doing it.”
Rates: “Perhaps many can make them work – and good stuff if you can. However you cannot go out and sell on the back of them as this is a consultation and they may change again by the end of the period, leaving all our clients in a pickle. It places a level of uncertainty that is designed to stop our businesses working. It also stops many of the invested schemes – which although many don’t like – are crucial to stop us being branded as a tax on the poor for the green bling of the rich. We need the social homes to have PV to keep this balanced.”
Energy efficiency requirements: “This is perhaps the most worrying. A level C EPC is only held by 10%ish of UK homes. It costs between £5-7K to get one. Are your clients really going to want to do that to get their FIT? Of course we all want to see homes be more efficient – but electrical generation is unrelated to building performance so ultimately irrelevant – this standard is well above what is reasonable. It is using criteria from the green deal – which may or may not start in October, and will almost certainly be dominated by large companies. We are being told that this is an opportunity to diversify our businesses – well thanks but I like my business how it is and I don’t want to be an insulation installer.”
Ambition: “When you dig into the paperwork (the impact assessment), it seems that they are looking to shrink the market from its likely 500MW installed market this year to a market of between 10MW and at most 200MW. That means that at least half of us – if not 90% of us are likely to go out of business in the New Year.”
The rally will start at 1pm at The Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London with a mass lobby taking place at 2.30pm at St Stephens Entrance, Houses Parliament. For more information, visit www.oursolarfuture.org.uk/we-need-you/.