Sustainable growth for solar panels
“In relation to the recent events regarding the feed-in tariff scheme, for example, the early reduction of the tariff rates and the media attention that the solar panel industry has received lately, you could be forgiven for thinking the industry was dying.”
In fact, the opposite is true, and the solar industry can now grow in a more sustainable way and flourish, benefiting more home owners who want to reduce their dependence on the expensive, traditional fossil fuels, which are becoming scarcer with each decade.
Despite all the protests about the recent feed-in tariff reduction for PV solar panels, there is an underlying truth that people will have to find alternatives to the normal oil, gas and electricity supplies, the consumption of which will continue to rise unabated in the coming years.
Stuart Lovatt, the founder of Heat my Home, says “Peak oil, as I discussed in my last new feature, is not going to go away just because the government has reduced the feed-in tariff! The world will keep turning; humans will continue to burn the black gold at increasingly faster rates and oil fields will continue to dry up (at an alarmingly faster rate).
As Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Minister said last night on BBC’s Question Time, the overall costs of both solar panels and PV solar technology have come down in price over the last couple of years.
The current reduction in the feed-in tariff rate, from 15.44p kWh to 15.44p per kWh, brings the tariff scheme into line with the new pricing structure and, I believe, will discourage the free solar panel companies who were putting the scheme at risk by overwhelming the funding pot.
The original feed-in tariff scheme was designed to encourage homeowners to install solar panels and, it was hoped that this would encourage growth of the solar industry at a steady rate until it could support itself. The recent torrent of companies and investors taking advantage of the scheme was never envisioned when the scheme was born.
I believe the solar panel industry has been saved from itself, and can now grow sustainably and benefit home owners primarily, as the scheme was originally set up for.
A window of opportunity with solar panels
Nothing in life can be predicted, as both the previous Labour government, who founded the feed-in tariff scheme and the current coalition government found out, but as already stated above, peak oil is a certainty.
The price of solar technology is currently falling because feed-in tariffs are now making it financially viable. Even under the new 15.44 pence per kWh price scheme, the technology is still very much financially viable, given its 30-40 year lifespan. Can you imagine the cost of fuel in 5, 10 and even 20 years’ time?
The thing that concerns me is that the price reductions are only a short-lived phenomenal and installing solar panels to your home as soon as possible will, therefore, be a very wise thing to do.
China currently holds all the cards with PV solar panels, as they own most of the silicone commodities essential for the manufacture of products for the technology. China is also introducing a similar feed-in tariff scheme like ours. Just like a must have’ Christmas toy, demand for solar panels will rise in China, and other countries of the world, creating shortages and thus raising the price of panels in this country.
When China jumps the world shakes. Ask any person in any country without its own oil and gas fields and the response is always the same -energy prices are climbing quickly. As we try to reduce our dependence on oil and gas, we will find that the demand for technologies such as solar power will increase significantly in the future.
As global energy costs around the world increase, this will be another factor which will increase the overall cost of putting panels on your roof. The long-term growth of the solar industry is certain, but what is not clear is the future costs involved.
It would be wiser to install your solar panels sooner rather than later.
Welcome to the solar panel century!
"Feel the pride."Stuart Lovatt November 28, 2011
Founder of Heat My Home.