With 12 months remaining to take advantage of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) programme, many businesses are taking a closer look at the merits of solar power.
The technology is proven and equipment and installation costs are lower today than they’ve ever been. The commercial argument is even stronger if FITs can be secured, so from now to 31 March 2019 it’s a crucial period for evaluating an investment in solar energy.
Since their introduction in 2010 FITs have played a vital role in kick-starting the UK’s renewable energy industry. More than 780,000 installations and some 4.2 Gigawatts of generating capacity have benefited from FIT support.
But the FIT has also been a victim of its own success, as uptake exceeded the government’s projections from the outset, forcing a series of step-change reductions in the tariffs. However, as a consequence of the tariff reduction, the industry has evolved to the point where solar PV is economically viable even without the subsidies.
Any chance of a change of mind?
While renewables groups continue to lobby the government to extend the FIT programme beyond April next year, CleanEarth’s Managing Director, Dean Robson, believes it’s down to businesses to take responsibility for driving the renewable agenda.
“Feed-in Tariffs have largely achieved their aim,” he says. “We now have a robust industry, committed to the decarbonisation of UK energy, that is no longer dependent on subsidies. But we need more businesses to take their energy strategy and their sustainability commitments seriously.
“Reducing carbon is socially responsible and necessary. Carbon-free generation makes financial as well as environmental sense. I can’t see the government changing their minds on the FIT,” says Dean. “So I would urge any company that’s considering solar to act quickly and lock in the additional FIT benefit while it’s still available.”