Bring back subsidies to encourage more solar panels

 In Solar Panel Systems

An urgent call to bring back subsidies to encourage householders to install solar panels has been made after installations fell by 75 per cent compared to the 2015 figures.

“This industry is crucial if the UK is to achieve ambitious carbon reduction targets,” said green energy expert Ron Fox, “and I would urge the government to bring back these incentives as soon as possible.”

 He said that one million homes in Britain – that’s one in 25 – have the solar panels and they collectively generate from free sunlight the same amount of energy as the country’s biggest power station.

But the industry has been dealt a triple whammy recently.

Firstly, generous subsidies given to residents who sell back their extra power to the National Grid have been eroded over the last couple of years and in March this year they were axed.

Secondly, the Financial Ombudsman Service has received 2,000 complaints from customers who felt they had been mis-sold solar panels.

Thirdly, European rules introduced this month have forced governments to quadruple VAT on certain installations from 5 per cent to 20 per cent to standardise rates with other member states. However, if the UK left the EU without a Brexit deal it would not have to implement the increase.

Last month, the Renewable Energy Association, Friends of the Earth and the power company Good Energy wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, urging him to reverse the VAT decision.

Although exemptions mean that the rise is unlikely to affect the cheaper installations, it will hit householders who want solar panels with batteries to store the power. This is likely to become more popular now the subsidies to sell energy to the Grid have ended.

Solar power and battery storage are not just a solution to climate change, but also an economic opportunity,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park. 

“I want the government to support the solar industry, bring back the subsidies and show it is serious about achieving net-zero emissions within a generation.”

Meanwhile, American and Indian scientists have found a new way to create electricity from the cold night sky that offers an alternative to solar power.

They have created an anti-solar panel, a thermo-electric generator which harnesses the cold of space to produce electricity at night when one side of the generator is cooler than the other. At present solar panels can generate electricity only during the day.

Already a prototype has produced enough electricity at night for a small LED light, it is hoped that a bigger version of this night-time generator could some day light rooms, charge phones or power other electronics.

“It just shows what amazing and inventive ways scientists are coming up with to help the world beat climate change,” said Ron.

For more information about green energy call Ron on 0845 474 6641.

 

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