The UK DECC’s (Department of Energy and Climate Change) Consultation on Changes to Financial Support for Solar PV makes interesting reading, especially for those who are considering investing in the solar industry in the UK. Part B of the Consultation is aimed at “promoting the deployment of midscale building-mounted solar PV”.
With energy prices in the UK increasing at eight times the rate of earnings (up 37% since October 2010), solar energy is looking more attractive than ever for both domestic and commercial customers. The provision of sustainable energy on a fixed price, long term contract via solar panels on the roof of a building offers householders and business owners in the UK an inflation beating sustainable energy solution for the future.
CBD Energy is a global energy company that delivers cost-effective and socially responsible clean, green energy solutions to consumers worldwide. CBD Energy has merged with Westinghouse Solar, a UK subsidiary of US based Westinghouse Electric, a company with a rich heritage and a long-standing reputation for reliability, efficiency and professionalism.
Westinghouse Solar Director, James Carpenter has welcomed the DECC’s Consultation, saying:
“It’s great to see DECC acknowledging the benefits of the increased deployment of medium & large scale roof mounted solar in the UK. It’s also positive they’ve recognized that the current structure of financial support isn’t working.”
The UK Solar PV Strategy Part 1, dubbed a “Roadmap to a Brighter Future” describes Solar PV as one of the eight key renewable energy technologies that will help to provide the UK with a balanced energy mix that represents clean, green energy for the 21st Century.
Solar PV is both versatile and scalable with the advantage that deployment is viable in a wide range of locations, including domestic and commercial/industrial buildings. Solar projects have the advantage of quick and easy installation with low maintenance costs and predictable output. The fuel, solar radiation, is free, making this one of the most popular renewable energy technologies here in the UK, with a public approval rating of 85%.
The UK Government is determined to ensure that its policies support solar installation deployment in a sustainable and cost-effective manner by providing certainty to investors and solar developers, as well as households, businesses and communities using solar PV. The government’s strategy for PV has four guiding principles:
• Support for solar PV should enable cost-effective projects to proceed and make a cost-effective contribution to UK carbon emission objectives.
• Support for solar PV should deliver genuine reductions in carbon emissions in order to help meet the UK’s target of 15% renewable energy by 2020. Century.
• Support for solar PV should ensure that installations are sited appropriately with environmental considerations (landscape, visual impact, heritage and local amenity) and should provide the opportunity for local communities to influence decisions.
• Support for solar PV should assess and respond to the impacts of deployment on grid connectivity, grid systems balancing and financial objectives.
According to James Carpenter, this means that “Government policy will finally be aligned to the need; stimulating the distribution of 50kWp + building integrated solar PV installations, so that clean, green electricity can be generated where it’s consumed, on- site.”
Westinghouse, in conjunction with CBD Energy, is committed to enable businesses and schools across the UK to save money on energy bills by installing rooftop solar panels free of charge. The funding for these solar installations is provided via CBD Energy’s Energy Bonds offering, an innovative scheme that offers investors a significant return of 6.5% over three years. Not only will this help to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, it will provide cheap energy for businesses and schools in Britain.
These Energy Bonds are secured against the solar projects themselves, offering investors an increased level of security because if the issuing company does go bust, the installation may be sold to an alternative organization. Once an initial installation has been completed, output is predictable and maintenance costs are relatively low. Income will be generated from the Feed in Tariff (FiT) which was introduced by the government in 2010 in a bid to support businesses, communities and individuals to generate clean, green energy.
While the DECC proposal offers no additional funding under the FiT scheme, it proposes to split the current FiT degression band for Over 50kW installations into two separate bands – one for stand alone and one for other than stand alone. This is aimed at ensuring that small scale renewables can deploy in a cost-effective manner.
Westinghouse Solar’s James Carpenter adds that “It’s a shame DECC fall short of suggesting an increase in the FIT for projects in this range, but Westinghouse Solar remain committed to rolling out free installations to businesses, organizations and schools across the UK, helping to significantly reduce energy bills and cut carbon as we go.”
The increase in solar installations in the UK is an exciting prospect for both investors and users. The government is committed to lowering carbon emissions by at least 34% by 2022 in keeping with the Climate Change Agreement. Moreover, Energy Bonds represent a viable opportunity for socially responsible investment in a time of economic uncertainty.
This article was sponsored by CBD Energy.
Image Credit: Michal Bacia