The sluggish performance of the solar industry in October has meant that installation levels are likely to fall below the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) stated capacity triggers. According to analysis by Feed-in Tariff Ltd, the lacklustre level of solar sales will probably result in no tariffs being degressed in January with provisional figures released by DECC showing that the capacity installed from August to October falls below the government’s target range in all three tariff bands.

Currently the weekly installation figures published by DECC show that only around 70MW of 0-10kW scale solar was installed from August 5- October 28. The figure is somewhere short of the 100MW threshold required to trigger a 3.5 percent degression and 57% lower than the total installed in May, June and July this year.   

Commenting on the provisional figures, solar energy consultant, Philip Wolfe, said: “These disappointing installation figures show how badly customers have lost confidence in the feed in tariffs. Solar system costs have fallen so fast that they are still economic at current tariff levels. But people are just baffled by the changes and increasing complexity of the new regulations.

“Domestic installations for the three-month period totalled about 70MW; a level that was exceeded in a single week this time last year. Since the feed-in tariffs were introduced 2½ years ago, there have been five major consultations and reviews; and tariffs have been cut on four different occasions. The original vision was that the FiTs would be straightforward, predictable and stable; making it suitable for the average consumer. But the increasing plethora of different tariff bands and the complex degression mechanism have made it ever less comprehensible.

“The final installation figures for August to October should be confirmed by DECC within the next few weeks. If the figures are as low as the projections indicate, Feed-in Tariff Ltd believes that government should examine whether the new tri-monthly degression scheme is too complicated for consumers to understand.”

Wolfe concluded: “We used to be able to describe it in four simple web-pages; it has now exploded to more than 60 pages”.