If you are considering installing solar photovoltaic panels, or any other renewable electricity technology on your home then you need to act quickly as the Feed-in Tariff will close to new installations on 31st March 2019.
Of course you can install solar photovoltaic panels without the Feed-in Tariff, but to get the best return from your investment you will need to use the electricity when you generate it, i.e. in the day-time! The Feed-in Tariff is designed to reward you for feeding electricity into the grid.
The FIT subsidy regime was set up to subsidise the cost of installing renewable electricity technologies by offering a subsidy payment for each unit of electricity generated (whether you used it or not) and additionally, an export payment for any electricity that you generated and didn’t use. The generation payment will be ending for new installations in March 2019, as will the export payment. This means that if you want to install solar photovoltaic panels and get a return on your investment in under 20 years you will need to have it installed and commissioned before the end of March 2019. There may well be a rush causing pressure on materials and installers. The Energy Saving Trust has a useful household solar energy calculator on their website
The government have just published a consultation on the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), a future policy to replace the export part of the FIT. There is no information available yet about when it will start, and the big power companies will be able to set the rate at which they buy electricity from you. The energy companies can deduct their administration costs from the price per kWh they pay for export. Therefore the export price is very likely to be 4p/ kWh or less. We’ll include further information on this important development in future newsletters, when we know more.
Of course, the environmental benefits of solar photovoltaic electricity generation are not affected by these changes, so if you are not only interested in financial returns, then you can ignore the March deadline.