FITs and PV potential in the UK

By Aisling McArdle, Kingspan Powerpanel.

In case you missed our seminar at the Energy Solutions Expo on 12th October, here’s a summary.

Uptake of PV.

Currently Germany is the market-leader in PV, having installed 3.9GW in the first six months of 2010.  Before April 2010 the UK installed 28MW. To increase our uptake of PV and to make it more attractive to businesses and households the Government introduced Feed In Tariffs (FITs), taking effect from April 2010. The FIT, which is known as the ‘clean energy cash-back scheme’, pays for every kWh of electricity generated by PV technology.  This incentive did the trick and the PV schemes started to appear across the Country.  From April until the end of 2010 57 MW were installed and by the end of 2011 this figure is expected to soar to between 200-400MW.

Installing renewable energy is step 3 in a 3 step process to create a low-carbon building.  The first step is to create an energy efficient building envelope and minimise energy use in heating and lighting. Step 2 is then to make systems more efficient.

PV is an option.

There is a common misconception that because of the UKs predominantly cloudy weather, solar power is not a viable option.  However PV cells work on light and not sun, therefore they can create energy throughout daylight hours, irrespective of direct sunlight.

PV is only one source of renewable energy possible, however it is currently the most attractive, thanks to FITs.  There is no denying that this Government incentive is very attractive:

  • You do not need be the Building Owner to claim Generation Tariff
  • You can earn 38p per kW hour for a 4-10kW peak system and 32.9p per kWh up to 50kW peak. Any electricity not used and exported receives a further 3p/kWh or could be more depending on Utility offer!
  • Once you start, you get the Tariff, index linked, for 25 years
  • Export Tariff also index linked.
  • Systems are quick and easy to install

It is worth knowing that installers have to be MCS Certified for systems up to 50kWp so that the FIT can be claimed. The whole scheme is administered by Ofgem and paid for by the Utility companies.

Developments in PV

So as things currently stand, solar PV is a good option: There are a growing number of installation companies for both businesses and residential purposes, there is continuous innovation with PV cells to make them as efficient and aesthetically discreet as possible, the Utility companies are keen for customers to get involved and the government incentives make it worth while.

Kingspan’s Powerpanel team is expert in PV technology, the details of FITs and the installation of a variety of different panel systems, so for more information on any of the above, please drop me a line: Aisling.McArdle@Kingspan.com or take a look at our website: www.kingspanpowerpanel.com

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