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Energy/Electricity Storage and Use/Grid Connection => FITs (Feed In Tariffs) => Topic started by: ProDave on July 17, 2015, 06:37:34 PM



Title: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: ProDave on July 17, 2015, 06:37:34 PM
Yes I know, it's the daily wail  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3165273/Solar-power-subsidies-slashed-Tory-plans-big-reset-green-taxes-pushing-energy-bills.html

But does that mean an end to FIT's for solar PV in the near future?


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: climber on July 17, 2015, 07:37:40 PM
From Wiki:

In July 2015, Private Eye reported that Rudd faces a potential conflict of interest because she is to decide on the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station whilst her brother Roland is chairman (and founder) of Finsbury, which represents a construction company with a £100m contract to help build the nuclear plant. The Private Eye report noted that despite the MPs’ register of interests including a new category of 'family members engaged in lobbying' Rudd "makes no mention of her brother or his interests", and added, "The Eye asked the Department of Energy & Climate Change if Rudd had told its permanent secretary about Roland and Finsbury (another conflict of interest procedure) but it did not reply".



Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: brackwell on July 17, 2015, 08:02:56 PM
http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/decc_to_launch_big_reset_of_solar_subsidies_within_weeks


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: Ivan on July 18, 2015, 10:52:54 AM
climate change secretary Amber Rudd said the government was “looking carefully” at solar subsidies in the wake of the overspend 


So, the 'big6' Energy companies now share treasury funds?!


We've seen, numerous times before, government announcements and comments that seem keen on cutting solar tariffs to reduce the burden on government spending. Is this because the government is paying the FITs bill behind closed doors, or is the government trying to pull the wool over our eyes when they're trying to protect the Power Companys' budgets, or are the Chancellor and Treasury staff really too stupid to know the difference between Government and Industry funds?



Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: Ivan on July 18, 2015, 10:54:31 AM
..oh, and I wonder if the 'within weeks' is a hint that they're planning to do it illegally without proper consultation like they tried to last time.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: Quakered on July 18, 2015, 11:28:12 AM
The original plan behind FiTs was that as it was to be paid by commercial organisations, it did not count as public spending. The European courts ruled at some point that it was public spending as the energy company's had been instructed to pay it by the government (and recover the cost from all their customers).


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: Ted on July 18, 2015, 12:43:17 PM
I don't think that is quite what actually happened.

In January 2010 (before FiTs was implemented in March that year) someone at HM Treasury asked someone at the Office for National Statistics for their opinion on how FiTs payments should be considered in governmental budget figures.

The ONS person replied, in their jargon, that they considered it to be a "D.31 subsidy on product imputed via government".

The document that was produced was revealed under a FoI request. It contains many mistakes and misapprehensions about how FiTs actually works so whether the 'unofficial' advice that was given should ever have had the impact that it has done is questionable.

For some time this issue has been the subject of a review that, AFAICS, has not so far seen the light of day.

The European Court has been involved, on several occasions, when asked to adjudicate on whether FiTs was 'state aid' or not - which, of course, is a completely separate issue. They managed to decide that it both was and wasn't (in different cases) depending upon the circumstances.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: RIT on July 19, 2015, 02:43:45 AM
The original plan behind FiTs was that as it was to be paid by commercial organisations, it did not count as public spending. The European courts ruled at some point that it was public spending as the energy company's had been instructed to pay it by the government (and recover the cost from all their customers).

In truth the issue is not about if it is public spending or not,but more about the fact that the cost is paid for by increased costs on all energy users. As an owner of a nice set of panels which earn me so much money that I expect to have their cost and a fair rate of return within 8 years of their installation I can understand while they think changes are required. The problem is that they will use this as a reason to drop the whole thing rather than come up with a schema that works. FITs based installations are costly due to all the paperwork and now the EU ruling that VAT should be at 20% rather than 5%. Unless government can resolve the issues all they are going to do is kill the whole PV market.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: Sprinter on July 20, 2015, 08:13:19 AM
So do we think as a collective that this means that they will reduce FIT's across the board, even for people that already receive FITS, or do we think that this will just affect all new installations?

The reason that i ask is that we have been saving hard to install solar PV and whilst we don't quite have enough to go for it at the moment we are getting close, and if we think its going to affect new installations i might have to take the gamble, get a loan and get on with having the install done straight away rather than continuing to save and pay cash for the install.

i know that we dont have enough information yet to accurately predict what will happen but any advice would be good.



Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: nominous on July 20, 2015, 09:14:11 AM
FITs based installations are costly due to all the paperwork and now the EU ruling that VAT should be at 20% rather than 5%. Unless government can resolve the issues all they are going to do is kill the whole PV market.

FIT installations are costly because you are getting pay back profit at the end of the term.
The installation companies are making quite high profits on installing them. It has been a very lucrative industry.
Look a the price of a kit, using the same parts. Then bear in mind the VAT is 20% not 5%.
That's an awful lot of very expensive paperwork being done.



Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: RIT on July 20, 2015, 05:06:58 PM
So do we think as a collective that this means that they will reduce FIT's across the board, even for people that already receive FITS, or do we think that this will just affect all new installations?

The reason that i ask is that we have been saving hard to install solar PV and whilst we don't quite have enough to go for it at the moment we are getting close, and if we think its going to affect new installations i might have to take the gamble, get a loan and get on with having the install done straight away rather than continuing to save and pay cash for the install.

i know that we dont have enough information yet to accurately predict what will happen but any advice would be good.


It's very unlikely that any change will be retrospective as FITs is basically a contract between you and the state, written as a law as the contract/law does not contain any wording that allows retrospective changes. This has already been tested in the UK courts when the government tried to make changes then.

       http://www.fitariffs.co.uk/faqs/category/21/     -  "Why did the Appeal Court rule that the government’s proposed FITs changes were illegal?"

There is a lot of talk at the moment about major changes so if you want to do it, get quotes and plan to have it done as soon as possible.

     


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: RIT on July 20, 2015, 05:34:04 PM
FITs based installations are costly due to all the paperwork and now the EU ruling that VAT should be at 20% rather than 5%. Unless government can resolve the issues all they are going to do is kill the whole PV market.

FIT installations are costly because you are getting pay back profit at the end of the term.
The installation companies are making quite high profits on installing them. It has been a very lucrative industry.
Look a the price of a kit, using the same parts. Then bear in mind the VAT is 20% not 5%.
That's an awful lot of very expensive paperwork being done.


It is, each installer who wishes to install under FITs has a high startup cost and then there are ongoing costs to maintain their fits status as it means they have to be MCS certified. Each installation also has extra costs as any sub-contractors used for the installation must also be certificated. Also the info pack provide has its own costs as there is 10 years of product insurance included and it takes time to register all the other certificates and I guess each has issuing costs. After all of the about they then work in a 'closed' market with no published prices, so will try and maintain the highest possible profit margin (they are a business after all). Say that rather a lot seem to have failed over the last few years because they could not make a profit.

The installers also have a major problem due to their man power and processing costs are staying the same or rising, while the cost of what they are installing is dropping rapidly. So 5 years ago they were charging £14,000 to install £10,000 of PV equipment, they are now trying to charge £5,000 to install £3,000 of PV equipment.

All in all FITs and MCS have been like any government designed process - complex and costly. Also as with many such schemes the real costs have been well hidden from the people who are play for them.   


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: M on July 21, 2015, 03:49:45 PM
A news article from today, though it doesn't really give any new info on FiTs.

Fresh doubt over future of CfDs as FiT announcement expected ‘shortly’ (http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/fresh_doubt_over_future_of_cfds_as_fit_announcement_expected_shortly_1404)

I was a little shocked at this line:

Quote
The onshore wind industry was also dealt another, albeit expected, blow when the secretary said she "expected" the technology to be absent from all future CfD rounds should they go ahead.

Does anyone know if that's true? I'm really impressed that PV has caught (just about) on-shore wind, but wind is still one of our best resources, and on-shore is cheap and popular. Plus, it's generation strengths are a perfect partner for PV's weaknesses.

Mart.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: dan_b on July 22, 2015, 09:21:44 AM
It hasn't taken long for the Tories to truly reveal their colours now the "shackles" of the coalition have been thrown down has it?  Ending the zero carbon house scheme. Systematic attempt to kill off on-shore wind, and now a similar attempt to kill large-scale solar.

Makes you realise how bad a job the Lib Dems did in trumpeting their successes in reining in the Tories for the last 5 years.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: M on July 22, 2015, 10:05:22 AM
And small scale solar farms have now been attacked. Not much left.

Small scale solar energy subsidies set to end (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33619017)

Quote
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: "Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly.

"As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies."

She told the BBC's Today programme: "We can't have a situation where industry has a blank cheque, and that cheque is paid for by people's bills.

"We can't have a system, which we've had up to now, where there is basically unlimited [subsidy] headroom for new renewables, including solar."

She conceded that subsidies to the nuclear industry, such as those planned for Hinkley Point, would exceed those going to solar, but she said that nuclear provided "a different type of electricity".
"In the winter, at the moment, solar doesn't really deliver much electricity," she said.

Different type of electricity?

Why doesn't she just point out that PV doesn't generate at night, wind doesn't generate when the wind isn't blowing, and hydro is very poor during long dry summers? While she's at it, she can have a rummage through my DIY toolbox and point out how bad my hammer is at sawing wood.

So much for an integrated mix of renewables to replace FF's.

Mart.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: Sprinter on July 22, 2015, 10:33:52 AM
Sooo a lot can happen in a few days....

We have been saving hard for solar for a while now as we think it will reduce our costs both now but more importantly when we retire meaning there will be more money around at that time to enjoy our retirement better, any income generated would be a welcome bonus, as would be any carbon reductions.

But we didn't quite have enough money, we was only around £1k short, what i didn't mention when i wrote my earlier post was that i had an accident on my Ducati on Friday which i somehow walked away from with a small scratch on one ankle and some stiff joints (non of which was bad enough to stop me having an evening on the beach fishing last night).

The insurance company have written the bike off and made me an acceptable offer for the carcass, i was considering buying it back and parting the bike out or repairing it but in light of this thread i have decided to take the cash which will give us enough to order the system sometime in the next week once i have worked out how to cash in some work related shares., so with a bit of luck in the next three weeks we will join the solar generation era.

Shame about the bike, but the outcome is positive if you look hard enough for it   :crossed


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: brackwell on July 22, 2015, 10:50:57 AM
Different type of electricity?

Well i know it is laymans speak but it is essentially correct.

I and others have been saying for ages that you cannot compare intermittent generation with generation that is controlled.  Solar,wind have their place in reducing pollution and co2 but otherwise has one major weakness -it is not 24/7/365

Up to now people have been able to bury their heads in the sand but King Canute did not manage and nor will others.  The likes of Germany and Spain have managed so far by exporting the problem of excess renewables to other countries even if at zero cost.  What happens when all countries have significant renewables and excesses at the same time?   Our ability to export our problem is limited by the size of the interconnectors AND the ability of the said countries to absorb our excess. ie dont put any money on it.

The use of nuclear present and future can only make the problem worse because it also cannot be controlled in reality to the degree it needs to be.   In fact if it was not for highly controllable gas to be able (economically and without damage) to ramp up and down at speed we would have a bit of a problem.  This is before cost etc of nuclear.

Ken

Ken


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: JohnS on July 22, 2015, 10:52:34 AM
Solar Trade Association say that subsidies are not needed.

Jonathan Selwyn, a board member of the STA, told the BBC that government support had been "absolutely instrumental in the industry's success" over the past five years, and that the industry was "tantalisingly close" to being able to operate without any subsidy.

To me, tantalisingly close is as good as saying that they are not needed but we are not going to admit it and we shall take any subsidy that we are given.

John


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: billi on July 22, 2015, 11:18:12 AM
Different type of electricity?

Well i know it is laymans speak but it is essentially correct.

I and others have been saying for ages that you cannot compare intermittent generation with generation that is controlled.  Solar,wind have their place in reducing pollution and co2 but otherwise has one major weakness -it is not 24/7/365

Up to now people have been able to bury their heads in the sand but King Canute did not manage and nor will others.  The likes of Germany and Spain have managed so far by exporting the problem of excess renewables to other countries even if at zero cost.  What happens when all countries have significant renewables and excesses at the same time?   Our ability to export our problem is limited by the size of the interconnectors AND the ability of the said countries to absorb our excess. ie dont put any money on it.

The use of nuclear present and future can only make the problem worse because it also cannot be controlled in reality to the degree it needs to be.   In fact if it was not for highly controllable gas to be able (economically and without damage) to ramp up and down at speed we would have a bit of a problem.  This is before cost etc of nuclear.

Ken

Ken

true , but we should encourage  storage ideas  to be developed ,    accompanying renewables  ,  to level them towards a    24/7/365   ,   and it works  ;)


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: mespilus on July 22, 2015, 11:20:35 AM
Ken,
'export' exists in many forms.
I am all for many, many more higher capacity interconnectors,
(UK excess wind power could be filling Norwegian pumped storage),
but a smarter grid could 'store' our excess wind power locally.

Anyone with a hot water tank and an immersion could, and almost certainly would, take some power if offered at only the cost of transmission,
offsetting later gas use, (assuming a domestic gas boiler).

All those regional supermarket depots could run the cooling system to store some 'coolth' in the floor slab for later.

I'm looking forward to the time when mixed substrate solar panels are as cheap as roofing tiles,
and
there is a couple of days (essential) electrical usage in a battery pack in the garage,
but there is no reason, beyond the entrenched fossil fuel-based power suppliers and an unheeding, supine, political class
that stops a smarter grid allowing every Watt of renewable power to be put to productive use.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: Ted on July 22, 2015, 11:52:56 AM
DECC have today announced consultation on the closure of the RO to <5MW PV from April 2016 (with a grace period for projects already in progress). This is similar to the closure of RO for >5MW PV from last April.

I would now expect them to also consult on closure of FiTs for similar projects (stand alone up to 5MW PV) as it would make no sense to leave the option open for the projects being denied RO to accredit under FiTs.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-financial-support-for-solar-pv


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: brackwell on July 22, 2015, 12:03:54 PM
Well the easiest way and possibly the cheapest is curtailment of the renewables, probably by detecting frequency on the grid.  I would like to see this modelled but my guess is that there are not many hours where this would happen.  It has to be a summer holiday day with exceptional wind and of course sun.  I would say that if intermittent uncontrolled generators wished to be connected to the grid they have to accept curtailment without compensation.

Although the National Grid have started to highlight this potential problem with over 10Gw and up to 22Gw of solar we are still along way off yet  http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/national_grid_more_than_10gw_of_solar_will_make_grid_operation_signifi23545

Curtailment already takes place but this is because of local capacity problems with the grid.

Whatever method is chosen remember it has to be at the control of the grid not controlled by consumer demand which could not be relied on.  For sure consumer controlled methods will help but the backstop is something completely different and fail safe.

Ken


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: ProDave on July 22, 2015, 02:07:06 PM
So does that mean domestic scale (i.e typical 4KWp) solar PV will no longer receive the FIT after next April?

If so that puts me between a rock and a rad place.

I have been unable to fit solar PV to my new build because until it's finished (and it won't be finished by next April) I don't have an EPC, and despite trying, I have been unable to obtain an EPC exemption letter.

So it looks like the option of waiting until the house is finished and then getting solar PV is not going to be possible.

That leaves me two choices:

Install a system now and get the lower "non EPC" rate on the basis it's better than nothing?

Or wait, and just do a DIY system and make sure I install enough "stuff" like immersion dump controllers etc to make sre I never export anything.  BUT for that to be viable with no FIT it would have to cost a LOT less than current prices.

Amy more clarity please?


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: TheFairway on July 22, 2015, 02:17:42 PM
It reads to me that no decision has been taken wrt FIT but these are currently being reviewed.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: mr_magicfingers on July 22, 2015, 03:49:17 PM
We had a new quote for a PV install that we planned for next year. We're now looking at taking out a short term loan to get it done as soon as possible. Have to have the EPC redone as the house was at an F but improvements will hopefully put it up to a D with the PV. Should have something sorted in the next week or two.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: pdf27 on July 22, 2015, 04:16:54 PM
So does that mean domestic scale (i.e typical 4KWp) solar PV will no longer receive the FIT after next April?
Ted's link appears to be saying that the FIT is likely to go for ground-mount PV (solar farms and the like), since that is what they're talking about removing the RO from. I'm less convinced and I think they'll just go for a cut in the FIT rate, which has been gradually happening for some time anyway. The relevant bit in the consultation document is:
Quote
In addition, we propose launching a banding review for solar PV projects of 5MW and below (this would apply to projects in England and Wales only).
There is no mention anywhere of removing the FIT completely, rather it looks like they're planning to trim it back somewhat. Critically, they've also committed to further consultation on the new FIT rates or whatever else they do with it, so you're unlikely to have to make a decision just yet.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: Ted on July 22, 2015, 09:05:09 PM
The banding review announced is only in regards to PV under RO, not under FiTs, although I would expect an announcement from DECC on the future of FiTs fairly soon as it makes no sense to amend the RO and not make matching changes to FiTs.


Title: Re: An end to FIT for solar panels?
Post by: biff on July 22, 2015, 10:49:31 PM
I picked up on the bit where they said that only medium solar farms of 45 acres would be targeted.
                     "Only solar farms of 45 acres I must have got that wrong somehow",?
  Maybe they meant 4 to 5 acres,? :o  That is a helluva  solar farm  whistle
  Quite a confident talker she was,,Rudd her name was.. She would not be used to people saying no to her, :hysteria
                                                  Biff