Spending Review questions Feed-in Tariffs

October 21, 2010

The DECC press realease following the Spending Review contains the following:

“Feed-In Tariffs will be refocused on the most cost-effective technologies saving £40 million in 2014-15. The changes will be implemented at the first scheduled review of tariffs unless higher than expected deployment requires an early review.”

This is likely to affect domestic solar panels, criticised by some as the most expensive way of saving carbon and claimed by others to be an £8bn windfall for the middle classes. Presumably those already in the scheme will be supported for the promised 25 years, but it may be closed to new entrants.

If I were cynical, I would say fill your boots while you can. The vastly inflated price guaranteed for the energy ensures that the return is around 8% – far more than you can get anywhere else. Personally I am very sceptical of solar panels. Do they really save carbon if you look at their whole-life carbon footprint, from manufacture to installation to usage and disposal? And you still need 100% capacity from conventional power sources for the time when the sun doesn’t shine!