Is Solar Power Still a Hot Topic?
Many people looking to embrace solar energy in the UK were left slightly deflated to find out that there were plans to cut the subsidy in half, but be prepared to see a lot more installations emerging in coming months because of the government’s feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.
The number of installations has reached a peak since the introduction of the scheme in April 2010, with over 248,000 installations being registered under the scheme in total and 100,000 of them being between January and March 2012. Perhaps this shows that people were in a rush to meet the government’s deadline for the cut in FIT rate from 43.3p to 21p per kWh, from March 2012.
Over the past 6 months the rate of installations has increased significantly as the uproar over the government’s attempt to cut the FIT rate has erupted, ending in the largest quarterly increase in the history of the scheme.
The energy regulator Ofgem reveals that solar photovoltaics account for 99% of all new FIT installations between 1 October and 31 December 2011, with just 330 wind development and 26 hydro schemes. Overall photovoltaics represent
92% of total installed capacity. There are a total of 2400 wind installations under the scheme, 350 micro-combined heat and power installations and a mere 16 anaerobic digestion developments.
In the first quarter of this year £47,000,000 was sent in FIT payments, an increase of £11,000,000 on the previous figure. The government will undoubtedly see this figure as a reason to cut the FIT rates, while the industry is still waiting for an almighty crash as further cuts are implemented. What might this mean for solar panel suppliers around the UK? We will soon find out.
Despite changes in the UK solar power market, interesting and innovative projects still emerge. News recently emerged about the introduction of a solar tree in Bristol. It is projects like this, found at Edible Futures in Bristol, that help to inspire others to see the value in sustainable and renewable energy sources. This Bristol-based community food project grows edible plants to transform marginal land into community gardens. The introduction of the tree will provide electricity for the nursery that will power a rain-fed irrigation system.
This project has been funded by two separate organisations; Demand Energy Equality and Energyshare, who have both raised £5,000 of crowd-sourced funds to allow the sculptor John Packer to create his masterpiece. Projects like this are more of an influencer than anything else and serve to enlighten a community on the long-term impact of energy sources and a self-sufficient lifestyle. Demand Energy commented that “It’s important that wealth should not be a barrier to renewable energy”.
So could we potentially see projects like this popping up all across the UK as an emphasis is put on energy awareness, due to the growing food and energy costs?
Can you think of innovative ways solar panel kits could be used to build renewable energy awareness in your community?
Tom Clark writes on various subjects, including finding the best solar panel supplier.
Sustainable Cities Collective