In Focus: UK Solar Feed-in-Tariffs

The UK Government scheme to pay homeowners to generate electricity through photovoltaic (PV) solar panels has sparked debate and argument throughout the green community. Recently, I’ve come across a number of commonly held concerns about Feed-in-tariffs (FITs) which I feel need to be addressed.

Myth #1: The taxpayer pays for the feed-in-tariff
By now there have been plenty of articles written debunking this one so I won’t spend too long on it: the feed-in-tariff is paid for by the energy companies, not the taxpayer. It’s true that this is likely to be passed onto consumers, but surely this is right – those who don’t have panels at home pay for those that do – that’s a strong incentive to go solar – and the best way to build a sustainable and growing economy around domestic solar.

Myth #2: It’s just a way for big business to make profits
This seems to be the myth gaining most traction at the moment. Indeed I had a lengthy and well-mannered discussion with a friend of mine about this just yesterday. Although it’s true to say that large businesses have exploited the FIT scheme in the UK over the last 12 months or so in order to gain big pay-outs from large non-domestic solar installations, it is certainly not the case that the scheme has been built to benefit big business. Indeed, proposed updates to the scheme have been designed to massively reduce the potential for this exploitation and move the balance back to the individual householder installing small solar panel systems on their properties.

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