Monday, 19 December 2011

Thousands caught out by solar panel deadline
12 Dec 2011

One of Britain's largest solar panel installers, Homesun, said 2,500 of its customers who had missed today's deadline to avoid a 50pc cut in subsidy for self-generated electricity. In a sudden decision last month, the Government said it would halve the amount it would pay those who generate electricity from photovoltaic panels.

Daniel Green, chief executive of Homesun, said the company would aim to help these people, who will be significantly disadvantaged by the cut. He indicated that they could be offered free or deeply discounted panels. "We have paid a lot to have this relationship with these people and they have invested a lot of time", he said.

Consumers had rushed to register their panels before the deadline expired. The Microgeneration Certification scheme said it had provided installers with up to 9,000 certificates for the panels every day in the past week, compared to volumes of about 500 a day before that. After today, those who install and register solar panels will see a 50pc fall in the amount they receive for every kW generated, with the total per unit falling from 43.3p to 21p per kW. The "export" tariff, which is the additional 3.1p per kW for any electricity sold on to the grid, will not change.

Customers who had already signed contracts for panels have scrambled to register their installations before the date, with some fearing that they will lose out. The timing of the move has been criticised by environmental campaigners and the green energy industry. They claim that the decision will cost thousands of jobs.