By Marcus Leach
The refusal of high-street banks to finance domestic solar panels will result in Government feed-in-tariffs only benefiting the ‘well-off’.
When Greg Barker, the Climate Change Minister, announced an early review of feed-in-tariffs (FiTs) last month he said that he wanted the population at large to be able to benefit from, and engage with, renewable power generation.
However, according to industry experts the refusal of high-street banks to finance domestic solar installations will result in feed-in-tariffs (generated by a national levy on power bills) only being available to the ‘well-off’.
Furthermore, removal of the financial incentives behind solar generation will remove interest from the sector, barring it from growth. The result could be a failure to create up to 90,000 high-tech, low carbon jobs.
Under the feed-in tariff scheme, individuals or developers who generate power from solar — or other renewable sources - receive payments from their energy supplier based on how much energy they generate to off-set installation costs.
Last month, Mr Barker announced that solar developments over 250kW would have their FiT reduced by 72% because he wanted the money to be spent of domestic solar panels and not commercial generation developments.
“For most home owners they are unable to benefit from the 8 to 10% that the FiT guarantees to domestic generators because they don’t have the £12,000 or £15,000 they need to install the photovoltaic panels in the first place,” said Lee Summers, director of Alumet Renewable Technology and EOS Energy.
“Banks do not regard the governments 25 year index-linked, commitment as collateral for a loan. It is totally unfair that only the most ‘well-off’ individuals in a community can benefit from solar technology. The feed-in-tariffs are paid for by levies on every energy bill and so every home owner should have the opportunity to access the FiT.
“It would not be difficult for government to instruct the statesubsidisedbanks to recognise its own feed-in-tariff scheme as suitable collateral."