Government statistics show an increase in solar installations ahead of the cuts to the FiTs scheme.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has released its latest statistics on solar deployment under the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme until the end of 2015.
According to statistics, domestic and commercial rooftop solar nearly doubled from October 2015 to December 2015 as compared to the same period the year before.
The tariff rates decreased for domestic systems from 12.03p/kWh to 4.39p/kWh from January 15.
Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association (STA), said:
“The statistics released are not unexpected as an increase in the amount of solar being deployed ahead of the cut on January 15 was always likely. However, the ‘huge rush’ some predicted has not really occurred, perhaps reflecting the 2015 stable market conditions as well as the cut in absolute terms was less than in 2012 – an eight pence cut instead of a 20p cut. We won’t know the full impact until January’s stats are published.
“We have ongoing concerns how the new caps system will be implemented. How will homeowners know what their FiT rate will be before they agree to put solar on their roof? How does an installer know what to tell its customer? We look forward to working with DECC and Ofgem to resolve these issues.”
“Despite the lower rates, solar is still a great buy for forward-thinking homeowners who want to generate their own electricity and protect themselves from rises in energy prices, and we anticipate install prices will continue to fall. There are very few investments where a homeowner can get a tax free, inflation linked return on investment that is significantly higher than an ISA. Many families are now also keen to do their bit to help combat climate change, and solar is a great way to do that.”
Research has shown that solar power is considered the most desirable technology for homebuyers, who are willing to pay extra for homes equipped with solar panels.
The STA are encouraging homeowners to consider the added value solar can bring, as well as the potential for complementary technologies to become cheaper over the next few years and changes to the economics of solar.
Battery storage will allow people to use the electricity they generate during the day later in the evening. Electric immersion hot water heating, electric vehicles, smart timers for appliances and innovative heat storage can all allow people to use as much of their solar electricity as possible, bringing down their bills.
We still believe solar is the future, despite the set-backs of 2015. We hope that installers will renew their interest in renewables and look at getting the qualifications to install and maintain solar PV and solar thermal.