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  • FIRST POST
    • Former MSE Helen
    • By Former MSE Helen 20th Dec 11, 5:06 PM
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    Former MSE Helen
    MSE News: Legal battle launched over solar subsidy cuts
    • #1
    • 20th Dec 11, 5:06 PM
    MSE News: Legal battle launched over solar subsidy cuts 20th Dec 11 at 5:06 PM
    This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

    "Legal battle launched over solar subsidy cuts ..."

    Last edited by Former MSE Andrea; 21-12-2011 at 11:57 AM.
Page 1
    • pete_v
    • By pete_v 20th Dec 11, 5:44 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 115 Thanks
    pete_v
    • #2
    • 20th Dec 11, 5:44 PM
    • #2
    • 20th Dec 11, 5:44 PM
    Good. I have no desire for my taxes to pay for other people's electricity.

    If domestic solar panels can be made economically viable, then great. But if they're not, the rest of us should not be paying people to install them. Let them stand on their own two feet like any other form of energy.

    Pete
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 20th Dec 11, 6:31 PM
    • 28,128 Posts
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    Cardew
    • #3
    • 20th Dec 11, 6:31 PM
    • #3
    • 20th Dec 11, 6:31 PM
    Good. I have no desire for my taxes to pay for other people's electricity.

    If domestic solar panels can be made economically viable, then great. But if they're not, the rest of us should not be paying people to install them. Let them stand on their own two feet like any other form of energy.

    Pete
    Originally posted by pete_v
    The stupidly high subsidy(FIT) is not paid from taxes but a levy on the electricity bills of all other customers.

    This means that even the poorest in the land - pensioners etc - pay for the well-off to enjoy a large income. Even worse is the fact that the FIT scheme has been exploited by the so called Rent A Roof firms finding a loophole so they get all the subsidies meant for an individual. Many firms will be raking in many £millions each, inflation linked for 25 years and paid for by us electricity customers.

    The vast majority cannot take advantage of the subsidy as they rent not own, live in flats or houses with unsuitable roofs.

    As soon as the cuts were announced giving the 12 Dec deadline, a feeding frenzy started and the UK's solar capacity doubled in 6 weeks.

    http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/decc_reveal_deadline_week_figures_2356/

    According to DECC, between December 4 and 12, a staggering 29,937 installations were registered for the feed-in tariff scheme.
    Solar PV systems installed between these dates accounted for 125.93MW of the UK’s solar capacity, 80.16MW of which was sub 50kW.

    The astonishing figures show that since October 31, when changes to the feed-in tariff were announced, an astronomical 351.83MW of solar capacity has been installed in the UK. In just six weeks the UK has more than doubled capacity, with 51 percent of 2011’s installed capacity put in place after DECC’s announcement.
    December 12, deadline day, saw a further 95 sub 50kW installations registered on the MCS database.
    Friends of the Earth as usual see everything through a 'Green Haze' 'if its green its wonderful!'

    I don't have a lot of time for this Government, but by putting an end to this crazy system of subsidy, they are at least showing some sense.
    • corbyboy
    • By corbyboy 20th Dec 11, 8:46 PM
    • 1,137 Posts
    • 1,378 Thanks
    corbyboy
    • #4
    • 20th Dec 11, 8:46 PM
    • #4
    • 20th Dec 11, 8:46 PM
    The timing of this was unfair to people who had already ordered the panels but not had them installed.

    However, I am happy that the new policy means that pensioners are no longer subsidising the electricity bills of people wealthy enough to install solar panels.
  • Onyourcase
    • #5
    • 20th Dec 11, 9:24 PM
    • #5
    • 20th Dec 11, 9:24 PM
    Good. I have no desire for my taxes to pay for other people's electricity.

    If domestic solar panels can be made economically viable, then great. But if they're not, the rest of us should not be paying people to install them. Let them stand on their own two feet like any other form of energy.

    Pete
    Originally posted by pete_v
    It's a good point. There will be a point in the future when they are economically viable. Unfortunately, that will be reached when energy prices have risen more.
    • jamesd
    • By jamesd 20th Dec 11, 9:48 PM
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    jamesd
    • #6
    • 20th Dec 11, 9:48 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Dec 11, 9:48 PM
    Hopefully subsidies are on the way out completely. There's every reason to stop them now and wait for current vents to unfold. Things like First Solar's recent profit forecast where they report that massive new capacity coming onstream from chinese producers will produce downward pressure on prices indefinitely and that their strategy over the next three years is to "shift away from existing markets that are dependent on government subsidies, toward building solar-power plants in the U.S. and other countries where it aims to serve utilities to compete against conventional power generators". That's exactly what we need solar to do: be competitive without subsidies.

    That sort of thing is also going to make subsidies for wind generation look pretty short-sighted within a few years.

    As soon as the cuts were announced giving the 12 Dec deadline, a feeding frenzy started and the UK's solar capacity doubled in 6 weeks.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Wow! That's a pretty impressive demonstration of why it was right to give relatively little notice.
    • The Green Hornet
    • By The Green Hornet 21st Dec 11, 12:03 AM
    • 453 Posts
    • 679 Thanks
    The Green Hornet
    • #7
    • 21st Dec 11, 12:03 AM
    • #7
    • 21st Dec 11, 12:03 AM
    The timing of this was unfair to people who had already ordered the panels but not had them installed.

    However, I am happy that the new policy means that pensioners are no longer subsidising the electricity bills of people wealthy enough to install solar panels.
    Originally posted by corbyboy
    Are these the same pensioners (poor and rich alike) who receive winter fuel allowances which are being paid for by the British tax payer to the tune of £2,831 million in 2010-11?
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 21st Dec 11, 8:38 AM
    • 28,128 Posts
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    Cardew
    • #8
    • 21st Dec 11, 8:38 AM
    • #8
    • 21st Dec 11, 8:38 AM
    Did anyone hear the disingenuous interview on Radio 5 by the boss of Homesun(A Rent –a Roof company) this morning?

    He explained how the solar industry raises huge sums for the Treasury and the subsidies(FIT) are not paid by the Tax Payer but by the large Energy Companies – who are howling in protest!

    Not a mention that the funds for those subsidies are paid by all customers, in higher bills, to the Energy companies.

    The whole theme was they were fighting against injustice imposed by Government; not mentioning that the real reason is that they wanted a few more months to feed on the rich pickings of absurd levels of subsidy.
    • samizdat
    • By samizdat 21st Dec 11, 8:54 AM
    • 396 Posts
    • 147 Thanks
    samizdat
    • #9
    • 21st Dec 11, 8:54 AM
    • #9
    • 21st Dec 11, 8:54 AM
    The fact is the government frequently changes tax breaks, and this is often unfair, but that does not mean people affected should be able to get changes overturned as unlawful.

    For example, Gordon Brown abolished Industrial Buildings Allowances with no consultation, yet this valuable incentive was supposed to last 25 years, and many projects were funded in the expectation that they would continue to be available.

    I rang the Treasury Department immediately after the Budget speech to seek clarification about grandfathering rights for current projects, and was told with a degree of scorn that no, there would be absolutely no relief for them, other than a derisory "taper" lasting about three years. The economic viability of many projects was seriously undermined.

    Ultimately though, the government needs to control tax and spending policy without interference from the courts.
    Last edited by samizdat; 21-12-2011 at 9:42 AM. Reason: Insert "no" in "no relief"
    • bris
    • By bris 21st Dec 11, 9:48 AM
    • 8,981 Posts
    • 7,893 Thanks
    bris
    Good. I have no desire for my taxes to pay for other people's electricity.

    If domestic solar panels can be made economically viable, then great. But if they're not, the rest of us should not be paying people to install them. Let them stand on their own two feet like any other form of energy.

    Pete
    Originally posted by pete_v
    You mean like the fossil fuel industry which gets subsidies worth 10 times what all the renewable energies get combined.
    The coal used to generate our electricity has been subsidised for years ever since maggie destroyed our coal industry.

    Nuclear power, the cost to the tax payer just to decommision the last generation of nuclear power is going to be £72billion.

    The cost of solar subsidies are nothing in comparison to whats already been paid and will be paid again to kep the lights on, so don't think for a minute your hard done by just because of solar power.
  • wuthton
    You mean like the fossil fuel industry which gets subsidies worth 10 times what all the renewable energies get combined.
    The coal used to generate our electricity has been subsidised for years ever since maggie destroyed our coal industry.

    Nuclear power, the cost to the tax payer just to decommision the last generation of nuclear power is going to be £72billion.

    The cost of solar subsidies are nothing in comparison to whats already been paid and will be paid again to kep the lights on, so don't think for a minute your hard done by just because of solar power.
    Originally posted by bris
    Does anyone know the level of subsidy/kwh produced for fossil, nuclear solar etc? For me this would be the most interesting breakdown of cost.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 21st Dec 11, 10:34 AM
    • 28,128 Posts
    • 13,956 Thanks
    Cardew
    You mean like the fossil fuel industry which gets subsidies worth 10 times what all the renewable energies get combined.
    The coal used to generate our electricity has been subsidised for years ever since maggie destroyed our coal industry.

    Nuclear power, the cost to the tax payer just to decommision the last generation of nuclear power is going to be £72billion.

    The cost of solar subsidies are nothing in comparison to whats already been paid and will be paid again to kep the lights on, so don't think for a minute your hard done by just because of solar power.
    Originally posted by bris
    Not for one minute do I accept your statistics, however that is not the point of this discussion and your comparison is a argument devoid of merit.

    Any subsidy to the coal/nuclear generating industry is to enable them to supply energy cheaper, to all customers, than it would be without those subsidies. That subsidy is paid from taxation.

    The subsidies for solar(FIT) have exactly the opposite effect. They directly increase the price of electricity for all customers(the subsidy is not paid for by taxation). The vast profits from these subsidies are paid to a tiny fraction(less than 0.5%) of the population. i.e. Those wealthy enough to be able to afford £10,000+ or even worse venture capitalists who fund the Rent a Roof companies.

    The sole purpose of encouraging renewable energy was to meet our environmental committments. However the Government simply got it's figures wrong in the level of subsidy and enabled huge profits to be made - profits that we pay in higher electricity prices.

    The bleating is coming from an industry that has its snouts removed from the trough earlier than expected.
    Last edited by Cardew; 21-12-2011 at 10:36 AM.
    • jeepjunkie
    • By jeepjunkie 21st Dec 11, 10:40 AM
    • 1,705 Posts
    • 1,498 Thanks
    jeepjunkie
    The stupidly high subsidy(FIT) is not paid from taxes but a levy on the electricity bills of all other customers.

    This means that even the poorest in the land - pensioners etc - pay for the well-off to enjoy a large income. Even worse is the fact that the FIT scheme has been exploited by the so called Rent A Roof firms finding a loophole so they get all the subsidies meant for an individual. Many firms will be raking in many £millions each, inflation linked for 25 years and paid for by us electricity customers.

    The vast majority cannot take advantage of the subsidy as they rent not own, live in flats or houses with unsuitable roofs.

    As soon as the cuts were announced giving the 12 Dec deadline, a feeding frenzy started and the UK's solar capacity doubled in 6 weeks.

    http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/decc_reveal_deadline_week_figures_2356/



    Friends of the Earth as usual see everything through a 'Green Haze' 'if its green its wonderful!'

    I don't have a lot of time for this Government, but by putting an end to this crazy system of subsidy, they are at least showing some sense.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Yeah I always thought the govt. should have stuck to the original deadline and changed it then.

    Cutting it early has only inceased the number of installs through publicity.

    Crazy...
    • ashleyriot
    • By ashleyriot 21st Dec 11, 10:47 AM
    • 89 Posts
    • 122 Thanks
    ashleyriot
    Any subsidy in any form - whether it be on electricity, petrol or FIT is economically incorrect and distorts the market - it would be far better to give further tax breaks to those in financial difficulty and at the same time make everyone be a bit more careful with how they spend (whenever something is cheaper, people are more wasteful anyway).

    There are massive profit margins for the fitters of solar panels and that needs to be eradicated now. They can charge so much because there is so much 'profit' for the household over 25 years - far better to charge £5,000 and see a return of £12,000 over 25 years (at little cost to the tax payer) than charge £12,000 to see a return of £25,000 over 25 years.

    If you're interested more in that first paragraph, read some books by Robert H. Frank - start with The Economic Naturalist and then try The Return of the Economic Naturalist, which has loads about tax and subsidies in it.
    • thenudeone
    • By thenudeone 21st Dec 11, 11:02 AM
    • 4,402 Posts
    • 1,909 Thanks
    thenudeone
    If domestic solar panels can be made economically viable, then great. But if they're not, the rest of us should not be paying people to install them. Let them stand on their own two feet like any other form of energy.

    Pete
    Originally posted by pete_v
    What has whether solar panels are economically viable got to do with whether we need to reduce CO2 output to prevent global climate catastrophe?

    I am a great believer in free market economics and in the ability of free trade to improve well-being BUT if we have learned anything from the economic mess of the last four years it is that using purely short-term financial measures to assess decisions which have long term and far-reaching consequences will result in some very poor decisions being made!

    Sometimes doing what is right for the long term future of the planet will not be a good decision when assessed using purely financial measures. Surely that doesn't surprise you. Or does it?
    We need the earth for food, water, and shelter.
    The earth needs us for nothing.
    The earth does not belong to us.
    We belong to the Earth
  • whasup
    I am a chartered surveyor and the majority of my work is design and development - new builds, conversions, refurbs etc. So I come in contact with a large number of contractors of all types - including solar fitters. One contractor (who happens to also be a good friend) went into solar about 12 months ago. He had an existing High Street presence, contacts, equipment etc. and a good start on the knowledge so it seemed to make sense. The other day I saw him and asked him what he was going to do. His response was quite supsrising; he said he was really not bothered with the way it had turned out (with the FIT etc.) because the business is a full of sharks who tell lies to punters and will basically do and say anything to get an order. You either do the same or you don't get any business and that's not something he wants to be involved with. His ending words were; solar cowboys are the new double glazing cowboys .

    When you see net adverts which proclaim 'solar panels can produce 50% of your annual electricity' - which I saw the other day - it makes you realise what a rotten business it is. And all with the full support of those lovely fluffy people down at Friends of the Earth. Brilliant.

    PS. You'll be pleased to know that my friend made an absolute fortune in the month or so leading up to December so he's not going to starve in the next 12 months.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 21st Dec 11, 11:30 AM
    • 28,128 Posts
    • 13,956 Thanks
    Cardew
    What has whether solar panels are economically viable got to do with whether we need to reduce CO2 output to prevent global climate catastrophe?

    I am a great believer in free market economics and in the ability of free trade to improve well-being BUT if we have learned anything from the economic mess of the last four years it is that using purely short-term financial measures to assess decisions which have long term and far-reaching consequences will result in some very poor decisions being made!

    Sometimes doing what is right for the long term future of the planet will not be a good decision when assessed using purely financial measures. Surely that doesn't surprise you. Or does it?
    Originally posted by thenudeone
    Every thinking person can appreciate there is an argument for renewable energy. Either to prevent global warming (sorry) climate change or to preserve our stock of fossil fuel; and I do mean 'argument' as there are opposing views on the subject.

    However, this particular discussion is centred on the indisputable fact that the Government fixed the level of subsidy for solar energy far too high and has enabled huge profits to be made - profits paid for by all customers.

    Not even the solar industry argue that the level of subsidy(FIT) shouldn't be reduced, they are simply in court to attempt to delay the date of the FIT reduction to enable them to make huge profits for a few more months.
    • The Pixi
    • By The Pixi 21st Dec 11, 12:25 PM
    • 298 Posts
    • 234 Thanks
    The Pixi
    Hi can someone explain to me what the 'subsidy' is?

    I don't own my own home but had always wanted solar panels when I do (mostly for the end of the world sinarios I pictured, like 28 days later, and that having electricity in those event would be good)

    I understood that if I had a few thousand I could outright pay for panels (something I was factoring into a house purchase in the future) and unused/spare electric would be sold back to the grid?

    So where is the subsidy? Is it the cost of the panels?

    If my house generates electricity and I SELL my commodity to someone is that subsidy, I'm sure you are all correct I have just not got where the subsidy comes in.

    If the Grid won't pay a good rate for the electricity couldn't I just cut it off and not give it to them? Small peanuts to them I guess.
    Mortgage Balance £182,789.00 of £259,250.00 Overpayment Total £48,847.13
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    • jamesd
    • By jamesd 21st Dec 11, 12:42 PM
    • 23,592 Posts
    • 15,890 Thanks
    jamesd
    The subsidy is the cost of the power to other consumers. That was 37.8p per kWh for power you use, with no charge to you for that power, plus and additional 3.1p per kWh for any power you don't use but instead export to the grid for other users.

    The wholesale cost of power in general is around five to six pence per kWh, about half of the price per kWh paid by consumers for their electricity. So your subsidy would have been about 33p per kWh you use yourself and 36p for power you didn't use.

    The costs of those subsidies to those with panels are paid by other consumers in their electricity bills. That's why there are people here posting who are happy at reduction in the subsidy and would be happier with elimination.

    The new rates are generally described as about half of those.

    The panel cost isn't subsidised.
  • whasup
    Hi can someone explain to me what the 'subsidy' is?

    I don't own my own home but had always wanted solar panels when I do (mostly for the end of the world sinarios I pictured, like 28 days later, and that having electricity in those event would be good)

    I understood that if I had a few thousand I could outright pay for panels (something I was factoring into a house purchase in the future) and unused/spare electric would be sold back to the grid?

    So where is the subsidy? Is it the cost of the panels?

    If my house generates electricity and I SELL my commodity to someone is that subsidy, I'm sure you are all correct I have just not got where the subsidy comes in.

    If the Grid won't pay a good rate for the electricity couldn't I just cut it off and not give it to them? Small peanuts to them I guess.
    Originally posted by The Pixi
    The subsidy is called the 'feed in tarif'. (or FIT) Which means you get paid an amount for the electricity you feed back into the grid. Dreadfully inefficient though. My advice is look into solar water heating. Much cheaper, you don't have the huge array of panels on the roof that will devalue your house and the product (a tank of hot water) can be used any time.
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