We had the pleasure of speaking to a UK based renewable energy company who specialises in the installation of Solar PV, Solar Thermal and Heat Pumps. Due to the recent changes to the Feed-in-Tariff and the announcement that the RHI and Green Deal incentives will be implemented in October we thought we would try and speak to Solar PV Installers and get their opinion on the recent changes. Unfortunately we were only able to question one particular company in detail and therefore this post is based around the answers they provided – However the company in question would like to remain anonymous; simply because they don’t want to be pre-judged based on their “very honest” views about the renewable energy industry.
Questions & answers
Q. What do you think about the recent changes to the FIT Tariff that is supplied by the UK government?
A. The change came as a complete shock to me and the company; I expected a change to happen but not that soon and not the kind of decrease that we have seen.
I think the change has affected Solar Panel Installers throughout the UK – Yes we seen a massive increase in sales as soon as it was announced but because of the demand we couldn’t get the materials we needed; it was a stressful time. The tariff change has taken its toll on the whole industry!
Q. How is business for you at the moment?
A. As I have said the interest in Solar PV has reduced but other technologies are doing fine such as Solar Thermal and Heat pumps – We’re thinking of expanding our business and exploring other renewables such as Biomass and Wind Turbines.
Q. Would you agree that Solar PV systems are still lucrative?
A. Well it depends, all the previous benefits are still available; by this I mean the increase of property value, energy savings and you still receive a tax free income. So yes I can say they are still lucrative.
Q. What would you say to someone who was put off an installation simply because of the tariff change?
A. Well I think they should certainly still consider a Solar PV installation, if they were originally looking for a long term tax free income with the added benefits that the technology provides then why not – I understand the cut means they will not receive 43p per kWh but its still a good investment in my eyes.
Q. How do you feel about the introduction of the Green Deal and the Renewable Heat Incentive?
A. They are a fantastic opportunity for not only the renewable energy industry but for consumers, I particularly like the Green Deal, the whole concept of it appeals to me and I think it will be worth the wait – It Will definitely get this country behind renewables!
Q. Do you have any final comments you would like to add?
A. All I can say is that I hope the industry picks up and we see the country getting behind the renewable energy industry and I personally can’t wait for the Green Deal and RHI to come in to action as I think this will boost the industry. Another point I have been discussing recently, we will hopefully see a lot less of those installers that have just jumped on the bandwagon to make a quick quid and get out, and we continue to see companies like ourselves who have been around for a long time and not here to milk the industry. The tariff changes may also mean that we will see the end of the “rent a roof” schemes or “Scams” around the country.
I have grabbed some of the questions that I thought were more important and ones that I thought would be of interest to you – I hope you found the interview informative and can understand the “FIT problem” from the perspective of a UK based renewable energy installer.
If you’re an installer – What do you think? Would you agree with the answers given by this particular company?
If you’re a consumer – How do you feel about the cuts? Has the FIT cut had an effect on you?