A beginner’s guide to feed in tariffs for solar panels

The feed in tariff for solar panels or The Clean Energy Cash Back Scheme (FITS) as it’s also known, began life in April 2010 for the first time. The UK government has pledged to support the use of Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels which generate electricity and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for solar heating panels which also include evacuated tubes and heat pump technologies.

Why incentivise pv solar panels?

The UK government have legally binding commitments to reduce the country’s CO2 emissions and because domestic heating consists of 47% of the country’s emissions, reducing domestic energy consumption will contribute a sizeable reduction in fossil fuel use.

Stuart Lovatt the founder of Heat my Home adds, “The solar feed in tariff is basically a governmental promise to pay you the home owner a minimum of 41.3 pence per every kWh which your solar installation generates, even if you use the power yourself”.

“This has made solar panels a much more attractive proposition and a great investment opportunity for the earlier adopters of the technology”, explains Mr Lovatt.

Being an incentive for early adopters of such technologies, does mean however that by design, the scheme degrades slowly over time. If you install before 2013 then you will get the maximum reward of 41.3 p per kWh, but this figure will be reduced to a lower figure after 2013.

Other incentives

The Renewable Heat Incentive tariff scheme is open to other renewable technologies such as solar heating panels, hydro and heat pumps too. Heat pumps are best installed in new build projects or properties with under floor heating systems generally. Retro fitting heat pumps can be difficult, so we always recommend solar to households who want to take advantage of this scheme.

To apply for these schemes you must first find an MCS accredited installers, get a quote and get installed with approved MCS accredited technology.

Once installed, you will be given the standards compliant certifications to then apply for your reward. Applications usually take around 1 month to process. From then, you can relax, smile and sit back in the full knowledge that your renewable system will be giving you approx 7% return on your investment for a guaranteed 25 years. Brilliant!

“We have seen time and time again, energy prices rising year on year. People who are installing this technology are looking forward at a world with less fossil fuel to go around. Reducing our personal demand on energy should cushion the blow from any future energy crunch”, concludes Stuart.

The new coalition government has saved the feed in tariff from the recent 2010 spending cuts, and has renewed its commitment to renewable energy technologies and therefore everyone should also think seriously about a low carbon future.



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