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UK cuts feed-in tariff for solar panels

2015-10-22

The UK s solar industry maintained it has a sunny outlook on Wednesday despite dull summer weather and fresh cuts to the feed-in tariff subsidy for solar panels.

From today, anyone installing solar panels will receive 16p per kilowatt hour of electricity generated, compared with 21p previously, and will receive the subsidy for 20 years instead of the 25-year duration that was formerly available.

But even that substantial cut, , still leaves solar panels as a good investment, the industry said. Households and businesses installing the panels can still make a return on investment of about 9%, which is better than domestic customers receive from most banks or standard investment opportunities.

Paul Barwell, chief excecutive of the , said: "Our figures show that solar is a no-brainer investment. Compared to the returns you can get these days in banks and many other investments, solar provides a very solid and attractive return. That is particularly the case if you consider energy bills are rising faster than anyone expected. Solar gives people the opportunity to take control of their electricity bills and help us move away from damaging fossil-fuel dependence."

There was a small sweetener to the tariff cut that will reduce its impact: previously, power exported to the grid by households attracted a tariff of 3.2p per kwh, but now that will be increased to 4.5p.

The STA has calculated that, including ongoing maintenance costs but excluding inflation, a typical 4kw installation costing lb8,000 would yield a return on investment of 11.8% a year under the old FIT, while an identical system installed today would yield 9.2% a year on the investment, if run for the equipment s likely useful lifetime of 25 years. However, the trade body warned that returns would vary widely among households, depending on location and their domestic energy use – more energy used in the home would mean less to export to the grid.

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