FiT cut fiction: 9p rumours are unfounded

Thanks to the scaremongering tactics of the UK press, trade or otherwise, my phone has been ringing off the hook all morning. With wild claims that the feed-in tariff rates for microgeneration-level solar energy will be slashed to just 9p, today’s media has all but knocked the stuffing out of an already nervous UK solar industry.

In the lead-up to the Comprehensive Feed-in Tariff Review, the UK solar industry is beginning to feel a strong sense of déjà vu as Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) officials begin retorting lines used in the run-up to the Fast Track Review of tariffs – which ended in disaster.

Today, the rumour mill has sprung into action, with many sources claiming that it is likely the feed-in tariffs will be cut to 9p for all systems under 50kW when the review documents are finally published.

According to ‘industry sources’, tariff levels could “fall from the current level of up to 43p per kilowatt hour generated, to as little as 9p per kWh […] if the Government follows past precedent, any change would not affect homeowners with existing solar panels,” reports the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, Business Green published, “Some experts are even suggesting tariffs for all solar installations will be cut from current levels of between 15p and 43.3p per kilowatt to just 9p per kilowatt (kW),” which was also revealed by a “well-placed industry source”.

These reports are not, I’m pleased to say, based on any fact.

While it is perfectly possible that DECC will indeed reduce the FiT to 9p, the current rumours are, well, rumours.

On speaking with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), we were told the following:

“As we’ve previously said, all tariffs in the scheme are being considered in the Comprehensive Review and we will be consulting on proposals later this year.

“We’ve made clear that tariffs will remain unchanged until April 2012 unless the review indicates the need for greater urgency.

“There has been no announcement about the review so any rumours about its content are just that, rumours and speculation.”

So, for all those out there currently in panic mode, I would like to reiterate: no official announcements have been made in relation to the Comprehensive Review, and therefore no new tariff rates have been revealed. Of course, while the Government might very well decide to impose the drastic 9p rate on the industry; this hasn’t happened yet, so keep your optimistic hair on.