Saturday, 1 May 2010

UK homeowners rush to take advantage of feed-in tariffs

The introduction of feed-in tariffs this month has led to a record number of inquiries about solar panel installation, as homeowners rush to take advantage of the scheme.

The energy company npower has reported an 80% rise in inquiries for solar panel installation and record numbers are having panels installed in response to the introduction of the Clean Energy Cashback scheme on 1 April by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

In one month, npower has installed 55 solar panel systems and responded to 200 requests for information on installation. Louisa Gilchrist, solar expert for npower, said: "It's fantastic to see feed-in tariffs generating so much interest with homeowners, and the scheme should be applauded for energising the solar industry in the UK."

Feed-in tariffs, also known as FITs, pay homeowners and businesses for the generation of their own electricity through low-carbon means. Anyone who is generating their own electricity through accredited solar technology can receive 41.3p for every unit of electricity they generate. Homeowners can choose to use the electricity they produce or feed it back into the national grid. Government figures estimate that a typical household could generate an income of up to £960 a year through the use of solar panels. The increased take-up is likely to stimulate the manufacture and installation of solar panels, but green campaigners have argued that the government subsidy would be more effective at reducing carbon emissions if it was directed at large-scale renewable technologies.

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