Consumer FIT could be slashed by December

The value of on-farm solar schemes is in doubt with the government apparently set to slash the feed-in tariff by more than half for domestic installations under 4kW.

A document placed on the Energy Saving Trust’s website this morning, and then quickly removed, stated the new feed in tariff (FIT) from 1 April 2012 would be 21p/kW, down from the current rate of 43.3p/kW. (See below for the full document.)

Only systems fully installed and with their FIT completed by 8 December 2011 will be eligible for the higher rates of payment while all builds after then will receive the new lower rates.

According to the document the government is reducing the rates because the cost of solar panels has fallen by around 30% since the introduction of the FIT scheme, with the rates of return now almost double the 5-8% intended by the scheme.

Howard Johns, chairman of the Solar Trade Association said the changes to the FIT scheme would seriously affect the UK solar industry, threatening thousands of jobs.

“We now employ 25,000 people directly, this seems like absolute madness that in this economic situation that they want to add a whole lot of people to the unemployment queue,” said Mr Johns.

Mr Johns said the release of the document with details of costings, rates of return and case studies showed the government wasn’t genuine in holding a consultation on FIT, announced earlier this year.

“The minister made a speech to 1,000 people in the industry yesterday [Wednesday 26 October] saying we need to have a nice open dialogue but if this is an open dialogue then we might as well not be talking. It’s quite outrageous the way we are being treated.” he said.

They are supposed to be launching a consultation but we have seen this document which outlines what they are going to do, how does that stack up?”

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne is set to make a written statement to parliament regarding the FITs consultation on Monday.

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