Call For PV Industry To Look Beyond 3rd March

The recent announcement by the High Court on solar feed-in tariffs looks likely to set the UK’s rate back to 43.3p for sub-4kW systems installed until 3 March 2012, reversing the Government’s decision to lower the tariff to 21p on 12 December 2011.

Whilst this could provide a welcome short-term boost to sales and installation of Photovoltaic (PV) panels the industry does still needs to find ways of engaging with customers to highlight the tremendous benefits that the technology offers individual homes and businesses beyond Government incentives.

That’s the view of Perry Jackson, General Manager of Photovoltaic Systems at Mitsubishi Electric, who says that the costs of materials and labour for systems are now lower than ever and PV is therefore still a highly attractive proposition whether FiT is set at 21p, 43p or somewhere in between.

“Each new installation still offers other added benefits that aren’t affected by the tariff such as reduced energy bills, self-consumption and future-proofing yourself against rising energy bills whilst lowering your carbon footprint,” Jackson adds.

The whole industry has been watching developments since the High Court ruling on 21 December 2011 that the Government’s application of 12 December to lower the rate from 43.3p to 21p was unlawful. It also seems very likely that the Government will now appeal to the Supreme Court to seek to overturn today’s High Court decision.

“Everyone will initially be relieved that a decision has been taken by the High Court and that the higher rate will apply until March, but DECC is now considering its position so this may not be the end of the uncertainty,” says Jackson.  “Meanwhile, there are a huge number of consumers interested in lowering their energy bills that we should still be talking to.”

Today’s judgement in the High Court means that anyone who has installed PV since 12 December and those intending to install it before the 3 March cut-off point, will receive the higher rate feed-in tariff for the full 25 years.  Customers who register on or after 3 March will qualify for the current higher rate until 1 April, when the rates drop to 21p, as previously set out in the 31 October announcement.

“We all knew that the rate was going to change and we can’t sit back and wait for a final decision, especially when the argument for PV is still strong enough regardless of the tariff,” explains Jackson. “As an industry, we need to focus customers’ attentions on the benefits of investing in a renewable solution rather than relying totally on finite supplies of increasingly costly fossil fuel resources.”

Mitsubishi Electric PV

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