Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Former MSE Helen
    • By Former MSE Helen 8th Nov 11, 11:31 AM
    • 2,324Posts
    • 971Thanks
    Former MSE Helen
    MSE News: Legal threats over solar subsidy cuts
    • #1
    • 8th Nov 11, 11:31 AM
    MSE News: Legal threats over solar subsidy cuts 8th Nov 11 at 11:31 AM
    This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

    "The Government is facing threats of legal action over plans to halve the subsidies paid for domestic solar electricity ..."

Page 1
    • undaunted
    • By undaunted 8th Nov 11, 11:56 AM
    • 1,862 Posts
    • 964 Thanks
    undaunted
    • #2
    • 8th Nov 11, 11:56 AM
    • #2
    • 8th Nov 11, 11:56 AM
    I can't see that ultimately achieving anything more than a delay in implementation at best but it seems to becoming typical of the Government - announcing it will do this that & the other without properly thinking things through
  • Brian99
    • #3
    • 8th Nov 11, 12:39 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Nov 11, 12:39 PM
    I guessed there would need be a big row. Maybe the deadline will now be relaxed.

    The recent rush to install resulted in a terrible shortage of hardware, now holding up my installer.
    • rogerblack
    • By rogerblack 8th Nov 11, 12:48 PM
    • 9,273 Posts
    • 9,438 Thanks
    rogerblack
    • #4
    • 8th Nov 11, 12:48 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Nov 11, 12:48 PM
    The existing subsidy rates are barking, barking, barking mad.

    I note that already there are installers offering significant price drops for installs post Dec 8.

    Consider this.
    The raw cost of the panels and the inverter are around 5000 pounds for a 4000W install.
    In sunny central Scotland, under the current scheme, these will earn around 1400 pounds a year.

    This will pay back the cost of the panels and inverter in under 4 years.

    The new subsidy in around 8.

    This is not a small amount of subsidy!!!

    The fact that people have to pay significantly more than 5000 to get the solar panels on their roof is irrelevant.

    Simply as if the subsidy was properly designed, you'd get the same money for the same panels anywhere where the grid can take it, including if it's an acre of unproductive hillside in cornwall, as you'd get on your roof.

    This is not free money.
    This is money put on everyones electricity bills, including the poorest, who cannot benefit from this scheme.
    Yes, historically, the poorest homeowners have been able to benefit slightly by getting panels on their roof - however the 'free' panel supplier gets 95% of the benefit!

    The subsidy should be properly designed, so it gets the cheapest possible panels for the 'taxpayer', nomatter how 'deserving' the person applying for it is.

    The farmer with a field out of public view that can put in a 10000kW facility for 99p/W cost must get the money, rather than the homeowner that it costs 2.50/W to install.
    • Antispam
    • By Antispam 8th Nov 11, 1:44 PM
    • 3,935 Posts
    • 3,466 Thanks
    Antispam
    • #5
    • 8th Nov 11, 1:44 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Nov 11, 1:44 PM
    Maybe friends of the Earth can pay the subsidy I and many others pay on our bills to pay for these, many of us now struggle now to heat our homes due to subsides on our energy bills thanks to that crook Blair increasing our green credentials. Its fine trying to be green unfortunately the poorest pay the biggest price yet generally use the least in energy
    • ChiefGrasscutter
    • By ChiefGrasscutter 8th Nov 11, 2:57 PM
    • 2,062 Posts
    • 1,984 Thanks
    ChiefGrasscutter
    • #6
    • 8th Nov 11, 2:57 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Nov 11, 2:57 PM
    Maybe HMG should just just tell Friends of the Earth to sod off - or else we'll reduce the subsidies even more.
    Perhaps a further 10% for every court case launched - that should cause a re-assessment of attitudes.

    We used to do this sort of thing when suppliers wanted to raise their prices. We simply said no and said that i n reponse we would only be prepared to pay x% less than we we already paying. The message soon got round..............
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 8th Nov 11, 3:02 PM
    • 27,836 Posts
    • 13,705 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #7
    • 8th Nov 11, 3:02 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Nov 11, 3:02 PM
    If Friends of the Earth were so keen on solar, why didn't they campaign for huge solar farms in Devon and Cornwall|(where output is higher) on factory/supermarket roofs or brownfield sites. The benefits are of concentrating the production in a few sites in the most productive part of UK are obvious; instead we have tiny systems on roofs dotted all over UK up to Northern Scotland and often on unsuitable roofs. This entails scaffolding, wiring, labour, electronics x 100,000 not to mention the ongoing maintenance and accounting in those far flung locations.

    As it is we have some 100,000 systems in UK all drawing huge subsidies paid for directly by all other electricity customers. Those systems are either owned by people who own their homes and can afford 10,000+ or Rent a Roof companies. I don't know just how many are owned by Rent a Roof companies, but just one(A Shade Greener) owns over 5,000 installations and has already received well over 4,000,000(4 Million) of our money in subsidies. For their 5013 systems alone they will receive between 6Million and 7Million per year of our money(inflation linked) for the next 25 years.

    All Friends of the Earth want to do is enable these and others to keep their snouts in the trough and feed of the subsidies we pay for longer.

    Some firms - including A Shade Greener - indicate that they will carry on installing systems even with the lower rate of Subsidy. So what difficulty do Friends of the Earth have with that situation? Why campaign for the present stupidly high subsidies to be continued?

    EDIT
    As this is a Money saving Website, perhaps Martin should throw the considerable weight of MSE behind a campaign to keep the subsidy cuts. After all the vast majority(99.4%) of the 25million electricity customers will benefit if these stupid subsidies are cut.
    Last edited by Cardew; 08-11-2011 at 3:09 PM.
    • rogerblack
    • By rogerblack 8th Nov 11, 3:24 PM
    • 9,273 Posts
    • 9,438 Thanks
    rogerblack
    • #8
    • 8th Nov 11, 3:24 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Nov 11, 3:24 PM
    To follow on with the earlier point.
    Tesco are now offering to install a 3.84kWp system for 8499.

    In sunny Scotland.
    22.5p/kWh (I'm including some of the export tarrif), this will earn me around 750 pounds a year, 850 counting the used power.

    This pays off in 10 years, neglecting interest.

    In sunnier parts of the country, rather less.

    I note that Tesco will be making some profit from this, so presumably it's possible for installers to bring in panels at under the 8K mark.
  • jamesd
    • #9
    • 8th Nov 11, 6:46 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Nov 11, 6:46 PM
    Cardew, it's not cutting the budget, just the amount paid per installation. The same budget will be spread over more installations.
  • Brian99
    Cardew - you have some very valid points... having a large solar farm in Sunny South makes sense... but it would need enormous wires on enormous pylons, going up to Scotland.

    Part of the value of home systems is to avoid extra pylons everywhere. It is , yes, expensive, but I guess when hardware is cheaper, people will be happy to pay for their own installations. (We might need big batteries to store energy for the evening, when they are cheaper.)
    • gjchester
    • By gjchester 8th Nov 11, 7:29 PM
    • 5,603 Posts
    • 1,773 Thanks
    gjchester
    I note that Tesco will be making some profit from this, so presumably it's possible for installers to bring in panels at under the 8K mark.
    Originally posted by rogerblack
    We had Tesco in for a quote and they looked cheaper on their initial "google map" type quote. Once the actual survey was done they were more expensive then others. We could have "saved" 1200 going elsewhere for a very similar spec system, although you can't get "identical" systems from suppliers they all have there own favourite choices.

    I also got the 8499 email, but thats a sample price using the cheaper lower output panels hence the need for 13 to get the 3.8KWH system, will they all fit on your roof? One company gave me a range of panel choices with prices varying by 4.5K. Once they will requote you, even money says it's going to go up in price.
    • Bin_Boy
    • By Bin_Boy 8th Nov 11, 8:27 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 45 Thanks
    Bin_Boy
    I personally think this is good news and was bound to happen, for the following reasons:

    1) Announcing a cut off date 6 weeks in the future for something which is a substantial cost for most people and for which installation has a substantial lead time cannot be seen as reasonable or fair. Many people will have already committed to the purchase on the basis of previous tariffs with no consultation or awareness of the proposed changes.

    2) The current government seems to have a distinct lack of understanding of the word consultation. A consultation implies that you ask peoples opinion over a period of time and take into account their responses ( I appreciate this may not be the dictionary definition, but it is certainly the moral definition which a democratically elected government should apply). To have a consultation date end after the date for implementation is nonsense and unlawful. This is a further example of the government changing legislation without lawful consultation, they have lost at least 2 high court decisions in respect of planning legislation on this. The NHS similarly has just been found wanting in the same regard, and most local authorities and other government bodies have taken a very 'relaxed' approach to consultation related to employment law.

    It is right that the proposal is subject to legal challenge, and the government should rightly be found wanting. The only sad thing is that it will cost a lot of taxpayers money in legal expenses purely because neither our MP's or the boffins at the DCLG are smart enough to realise that the consultation should end before you implement something.


    On a separate note I still cannot see why they have taken this approach rather than placing a reasonable limit on the number of panels which can be registered to one company/person for fits purposes (or make it so once you reach a threshold across multiple properties the reduced rate applies). I don't particularly think the FIT payments should stay at the current amount, so long as it continues to make installations viable (which in my view the current proposal won't) but it seems to target genuine installations rather than the issue which the consultation and changes were supposed to address.
    • zeupater
    • By zeupater 8th Nov 11, 9:59 PM
    • 4,693 Posts
    • 6,301 Thanks
    zeupater
    Hi All

    At the reduced rate installations will be viable and there's plenty of room for further reductions in equipment prices further down the line .....

    Regarding the questions as to why such a short timespan between notification and cutoff .... well, when the German government telegraphed the cut in their FiTs months before the summer 2010 date there was total chaos throughout the whole european supply chain as tens of thousands in Germany jumped on the bandwaggon at the same time ....

    There was a point regarding a fixed tariff depending on installed capacity too ..... I suppose that the troglodites would be up for this one ... solar panels in a cave .... seriously, if you're going to subsidise a capital inefficient way to generate electricity, why would you not plan to at least make it preferrential to subsidise the most efficient orientations & locations first and that's just what the current system encourages .... I'd rather subsidise a south facing 2kWp based on generation than one which could face any direction and receive a fixed subsidy based on nominal capacity ...

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    • davidgmmafan
    • By davidgmmafan 8th Nov 11, 10:32 PM
    • 1,446 Posts
    • 522 Thanks
    davidgmmafan
    "Cardew, it's not cutting the budget, just the amount paid per installation. The same budget will be spread over more installations"

    Yes and the money was going to run out pretty quickly without these changes. I also hear Huhne was asked to say how much this is costing and didn't do so.
    Mixed Martial Arts is the greatest sport known to mankind and anyone who says it is 'a bar room brawl' has never trained in it and has no idea what they are talking about.
    • jimjames
    • By jimjames 8th Nov 11, 10:36 PM
    • 13,227 Posts
    • 12,276 Thanks
    jimjames
    I note that Tesco will be making some profit from this, so presumably it's possible for installers to bring in panels at under the 8K mark.
    Originally posted by rogerblack
    I had a call from an installer today and their opening line was "we have dropped our prices so that they are still viable with the new FIT rates". My current installation is borderline viable with the new rates anyway so if prices drop further I can see the industry still continuing but perhaps with a slightly lower number of installations.
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 8th Nov 11, 10:37 PM
    • 27,836 Posts
    • 13,705 Thanks
    Cardew
    Cardew, it's not cutting the budget, just the amount paid per installation. The same budget will be spread over more installations.
    Originally posted by jamesd
    Exactly my point.

    If you were buying widgets for 1 each, and the price was reduced to 50p, you would get twice as many widgets for the same money.

    We - the electricity customers - are paying huge subsidies, that are completely unjustified, to people producing widgets solar electricity. So by cutting FIT by 50%, for the same amount of subsidy we will get twice as much solar electricity produced.

    Bear in mind that the Government have committed to producing a certain amount of solar electricity to meet treaty obligations; not committed to a certain spend on solar.

    If all that matters was the budget spend, then to follow your logic it wouldn't matter if we spent that budget on a couple of solar installations and paid them, say 10k per kWh.
    Last edited by Cardew; 08-11-2011 at 10:53 PM.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 8th Nov 11, 10:50 PM
    • 27,836 Posts
    • 13,705 Thanks
    Cardew
    Cardew - you have some very valid points... having a large solar farm in Sunny South makes sense... but it would need enormous wires on enormous pylons, going up to Scotland.

    Part of the value of home systems is to avoid extra pylons everywhere. It is , yes, expensive, but I guess when hardware is cheaper, people will be happy to pay for their own installations. (We might need big batteries to store energy for the evening, when they are cheaper.)
    Originally posted by Brian99
    I am sorry but that is a complete misunderstanding of the situation.

    Solar PV panels produce no electricity as soon as the sun goes over the horizon. So they do not reduce the UK's electricity generating capacity by a single watt - we still need exactly the same amount of coal/gas/oil/nuclear power stations.

    The peak load on the UK's electricity grid is on a winter's evening when solar is producing zilch.

    The same 'enormous wires and pylons' that carry electricity to all parts of the UK(including Scotland) are not affected by wherever solar is generated. Indeed when the UK generating capacity is under strain we get our electricity supplemented by Nuclear electricity produced in France and transmitted to UK by means of a seriously enormous wire(the interconnector) that comes ashore in Kent - a long way South of Hadrian's Wall.
    • redux
    • By redux 8th Nov 11, 11:24 PM
    • 19,139 Posts
    • 26,077 Thanks
    redux
    Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com creator, says: "Surely a fairer system would've been to simply say that anyone who has signed up and paid before the announcement will get the higher feed in tariff as expected."
    No, surely it would have been fairer never to have designed this ludicrous scheme in the first place.

    I haven't studied the numbers in detail, but I believe that people are paid about a lot more for the electricity their panels generate than they are charged if they buy some.

    Someone I know was offered a quarter of a million upfront then about 100,000 a year to have some panels on some land. That sounds impressive, until you wonder why those firms don't just buy the land cheaper than that. Answer, I suspect, perhaps they don't have the money themselves and someone else would be paying. Either that or they'd go broke well before the end.
    • John_Pierpoint
    • By John_Pierpoint 9th Nov 11, 3:13 AM
    • 8,248 Posts
    • 7,388 Thanks
    John_Pierpoint
    The same 'enormous wires and pylons' that carry electricity to all parts of the UK(including Scotland) are not affected by wherever solar is generated.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Not quite true:
    We need to build "a second grid" for two main reasons:

    Sustainable sources of electricity (especially nuclear power and off shore wind) are not well connected to the existing grid, power generation is moving from inland coalfield sites to coastal or highland locations..

    As the grid(s) get "decarbonised" the future will be electric, not fossil fuel - so demand for electricity will increase.

    That is the theory, personally I will be pushing up the daisies, not plugging in my car for its overnight charge.
  • Brian99
    No Solar after dark: I'm sure they are working on the best solution to this.
    The obvious one is Hydro-electric power, which is easy to switch on and off.

    You dont need them when loads of solar panels are generating. Then they start switching on as the sun goes down. This is what they do when everyone swiches on kettles during TV commercial breaks.

    More Hydro will be needed, and its clean too
    Last edited by Brian99; 09-11-2011 at 10:21 AM.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,340Posts Today

6,838Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Just wondering. Do you discuss with your partner who you're going to vote for - or do you keep the secret totally? https://t.co/dLCYvxUogs

  • I mean really is this worth a news story (slightly frustrating that to tweet the ridiculous nature of this click ba? https://t.co/4ADi7coREG

  • The maths is wrong. Even if MPs weren't given a penny by the state in salary or expenses, it'd save a trivial count? https://t.co/Kgskcjd6eG

  • Follow Martin