Solar panel installations fall by nearly 90%Sharp drop following feed-in-tariff cuts

04 May 2012

Solar panel on roof of house

Installations of solar panels have fallen by nearly 90% since the government cut feed-in-tariff payments by half, according to figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change this week. 

Households that produce their own electricity using solar photovoltaic (solar PV) panels can earn cash payments through the government's feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme.

But on 1 April 2012 the amount you can earn was cut from 43.3p/kWh to 21p/kWh. Since then the number of solar panels being installed has fallen by nearly 90%.

Further cuts to FIT rates 

Which? energy expert Sylvia Baron says: 'There was a surge of consumers pushing installations through before the cut was enforced, so this initial drop is not entirely unexpected.

'The FIT rates are due to be cut further in July this year, so if you are interested in installing solar PV panels, now might be the time. 

'But make sure you check first that your house meets the minimum energy performance requirements needed to qualify and that the system will pay for itself within a time period that is acceptable to you.'

Solar panels aren't cheap 

While energy companies insist the price of solar panels will keep dropping, they are still an expensive purchase. We advise you to use our solar PV checklist and take your time to get at least three quotes before you buy.

Also, to qualify for the FIT tariff of 21p/kWh your house now needs to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) level of D or above. To meet this your house will most probably need to have loft insulation and wall insulation. Otherwise the FIT tariff drops even further, to 9p/kWh.

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