Solar Panel Funding Cuts

For owners of electric or plug-in hybrids who are considering solar panels to generate their own green energy, they need to get their installations completed by 14th January 2016; the income from generated energy has been slashed by 53% after that date. Any income, whether from prior to the cut-off date or after, is guaranteed for twenty years, so the total savings for anybody completing their installations before that date are significant.

I was planning on writing this article over the Christmas period, allowing me plenty of time to investigate the subject and gain an understanding. I would then read and re-read, trying to reduce both typographical and grammatical errors and maybe even get the opinion of a friend. Instead, I have to knock it up at full speed and hope for the best; the alternative is not to bother. So I apologise in advance for any inaccuracies. I just feel I need to publish now, and create a follow-up article in the new year, at a more leisurely pace. That way I may be able to help one or two home-owners get an installation completed in time.

As already reported in the News section of this web site, on 17th December, 2015, the Department of Energy and Climate Change released its response to the Review of the Feed-in Tariff Scheme.

As an owner of plug-in hybrid, I was already considering solar panels, but both time and funding precluded an installation being carried out this year, so I am already going to be 3.5% down on the on the income and savings that I would have reaped had I reacted faster. Luckily for me I have reacted quickly enough to have my installation completed before the cut-off date.

The report is significant because installations need to be completed by 14th January 2016, or savings will be reduced by 53%.

Here is why, and note that the description is simplified but accurate:

Pre 15th January 2016 installation:

  • The generation tariff rate is 12.03p per kWh generated.

  • A further 2.43p is paid for export.

  • This works out at 14.46p per kW.

  • You also get to use all the electricity that you generate. Whilst still getting the full payment for everything generated, as detailed here.

 

15th January 2016 installations to 8th February 2016:

  • The generation tariff rate will be 4.39p per kWh generated.

  • A further 2.43p will be paid for export.

  • This works out at 6.82p per kW.

  • Again, ou also get to use all the electricity that you generate. Whilst still getting the full payment for everything generated, as detailed here.

Case Study of my Chosen Installation

I shall use my own purchase as a case study. I had a choice of three outputs of panel, but the government payments immediately preclude what appears to be the best, as will be explained. In each case, the total output is:

  • 270 Watt * 14 Panels = 3.78 Kw.

  • 285 Watt * 14 Panels = 3.99 Kw.

  • 290 Watt * 14 Panels = 4.06 Kw.

A government subsidy is available for the electricity generated. First of all there is a Feed in Tariff which is dependant on the total rated output:

TariffFeedIn01

On top of this is an Export Payment of 4.85p per kW that is sent to the grid. As existing meters do not measure this, an assumed 50% is used and so the Export Payment is 2.43p per kW.

At this point it is important to note that the Feed in Tariff used is calculated for the whole output. So in my examples here, the 285 Watt panels will generate 3.99 Kw and so will generate a Feed in Tariff subsidy of 48.00p per Kw. Whereas the 290 Watt panels will generate 4.06 Kw and so will generate a Feed in Tariff subsidy of 46.68p per Kw.

Therefore the 290 Watt panel choice, which costs more than the 285 Watt panel choice, will generate1.38p per kW less in Feed in Tariff payments.

The calculations are shown here:

Table 1: Tariff Feed In

So it is clear that the 290 Watt option is not actually an option.


As you may see, this article could provide further information. I am publishing at this point in order to allow it to be read as soon as possible. I will endeavour to continue writing this article over the afternoon.


Further Reading

http://catalogue.segen.co.uk/reseller/docs/FITs_Review_Govt__response_Final.pdf

http://www.redelectrical.co.uk/decc-confirms-changes-to-fits/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35119173

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

Later ukPHEV Articles

Solar Panel Installation Part 1 – The Purchasing Decision


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