Solar installers looking to diversify into new technologies should the government’s 87% cuts to the feed-in tariff come into force are looking at a large number of markets, a Solar Media survey has found.
Proposed cuts to the feed-in tariff and caps on solar deployment look set to be enforced by the government as of 1 January. Solar deployed outside of those caps would only be eligible to receive the export tariff, drastically reducing the financial incentive and effectively limiting the PV industry.
The cuts, and the industry repercussions they’re expected to create, have caused most installation businesses to consider diversifying into new industries, markets and technologies, and the range of technologies currently being investigated is extensive.
Of those responding to a Solar Media survey earlier this month, 24% said they were actively considering diversifying into lighting and electrics, a figure which largely correlates with the 40% who determined their core skill set to be in that market.
A further 17% said they were looking into the boiler and heating industries as the UK continues to lag behind the rest of Europe in pursuing its renewable heat targets.
Other industries of interest to installers included roofing, insulation, plumbing and design, but 59% of respondents said they would be looking into other technologies and markets, hinting towards a diverse future for the UK’s solar installation base.
Services suggested by respondents include electric vehicle charging point installation, off-grid renewables and smart grids, solar thermal technology and air conditioning. However the two most common responses were storage and energy efficiency technologies, capitalising on the UK’s need to do more on efficiency.
It may now be a well-worn trope that “renewables plus storage” is the future of the technology but energy secretary Amber Rudd is on the record as outlining her department’s commitment to storage as a crucial component to the country’s energy mix. DECC is yet to outline any future financial support for the nascent technology however 2016 looks set to be a crucial year with various commercial products hitting the UK market, not least Tesla’s Powerwall.