With 2017 drawing to a close, Solar Power Portal recaps some of the most popular and important stories of the year. In the second of a series of articles in the lead up to Christmas, today we look at April, May and June.
Elon Musk made a big splash in mid-May by unveiling Tesla’s hotly anticipated solar roof tiles. A formal launch on the Hollywood set of Desperate Housewives introduced the tiles to a US audience, however Elon also took to Twitter to embellish on a few details, including a UK release date.
Musk said that UK delivery and installation would commence in 2018 but without any further details – least of all exactly how Tesla intends to distribute the tiles in the absence of a UK-facing SolarCity presence – UK installers remain in the dark as to how they can get their hands on the product.
In true Tesla fashion customers can pre-order the tiles online with a sizeable £800 deposit, and you can, of course, order a Powerwall 2 at the same time, but more than seven months on and with reported delays in production there has been little further information.
One energy giant that is already catering for the UK’s solar-plus-storage demand is E.On, which confirmed its entry into the market in April this year. E.On Solar and Storage launched with much publicity and fanfare – including a partnership with pop band Gorillaz – pitching installations at customers from £4,495 for solar, or £7,495 with a battery storage system.
E.On will be looking to capture more imagination with its solar offering than the government’s feed-in tariff has done since the new regime came into place in January 2016. Under-deployment, particularly within the residential band, has been one of this year’s recurring themes and in April BEIS pledged to commit a fresh review of the FiT scheme before the end of the year.
Such a review would have to look into the success of the FiT rates as they stand and, if possible, reallocate spending.
In true BEIS fashion though, the review already appears overdue and, at the time of publication, is yet to be seen. If the government is to meet its own deadline then it has precious few days left – just two in fact before parliament rises for Christmas recess on 21 December. Solar Power Portal won’t be holding its breath.
One of the earliest casualties of the government’s slashing of feed-in tariff rates was Leicestershire’s Mark Group and there was good news in June when more than 400 former employees of the installation business won a lengthy legal battle for compensation.
A total of 428 claimants successfully argued that had been a complete failure to conduct the necessary consultation with employees prior to the company’s collapse in October 2015, with the judge preceding over the case awarding them 90 days gross pay.
There was again good news for the solar industry in late May when the country basked in a so-called Spanish Plume, sparking unseasonably bright weather and, crucially, record solar generation. It wasn’t the first time 2017 had seen record solar generation – a new record of 8.48GW was set earlier that month – and it wasn’t to be the last.
Tomorrow Solar Power Portal will continue its recap of 2017, looking at the top stories in July, August and September.
You can view part one of our 2017 in review series covering the first three months of the year here.