ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Are Feed-in Tariffs A Good Idea?

Updated on July 22, 2015

The Pros

Since April 1st, 2010 people living in the UK are entitled to take advantage of a scheme that makes installing solar panels on your house or a wind turbine on your property much more affordable.

Few people disagree with the imperative to reduce carbon emissions - even climate change skeptics are normally agreed that high carbon emissions are far from ideal. It is also not in dispute that fossil fuels are limited and that alternative sources of energy need to be developed and made widely available. Although I’m always reading some crazy spammer on the internet claiming that there are massive oil reserves left, I tend to feel that the foreign policies of such countries as America and China give the lie to these optimistic assertions.

To focus on the new act of parliament: the Feed-in Tariffs bill offers homeowners 3 cash saving benefits for paying for off-the grid, renewable and low (or zero) carbon energy sources. To qualify for the benefits the technology that you buy and install must be recognized under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). There are a number of companies that you can find online who have MCS accreditation.

Here are the cash savings

1) Generation Tariff – This is a set monthly rebate paid by the government for each kWh of electricity produced by your photovoltaic cells or wind turbine. This is guaranteed for 25 years.

2) Export Tariff – For any electricity you don’t use and export to the grid you are paid 3p per kWh by the electricity company.

3) Energy Bill Savings – Obviously with some of your energy being provided for free by solar PV and wind turbines your energy bills are going to be reduced.

According to the official Feed-in Tariffs website if an average household with a three or four bedroom house, installed solar PV panels that generate electricity, the Feed-In Tariffs would provide the following benefits: The electricity generated would pay the homeowner £836 a year tax-free. Remaining electricity costs would be reduced from £450 to £300: saving £150 Therefore, the total benefit would be £986 per year. This is based on an average use of 4,500kWh of electricity per year and the installation of 2.5kW of solar PV panels.

These are great numbers and if you are a homeowner it is one of the best investments you can make.

The Cons

Detractors point out that the government subsidy is too high, that the tax payer is paying too much compared to the reduction in carbon. Under this scheme it costs £430 to save one tonne of C02. Sadly to build a nuclear power plant costs £8 per tonne of C02 saved.

Another valid point is that the sun simply doesn’t shine that much in the UK. In the tropics when the sun is blazing during the day the demand is highest for electricity for air-con. Under this situation solar generated energy makes very good sense.

There is also a socio-economic point to be made: this law benefits the middle-classes who can afford to buy a house and then buy solar PV panels. The working classes pay in tax and increased electricity bills (the export tariff will no doubt be covered by the electricity companies by passing on the costs to the consumers) and yet many of the working class doesn’t own houses let alone solar PV panels. This is shifting money from the working classes to the middle classes. Already in Germany a similar scheme has been drastically cut back because of the expense to the government.

Finally, it could be argued that mass alternative energy creation is much better value for money considering the UK’s climate. Economies of scale could allow for cheap wind farms and other such projects that harness the energy our weather contains more effectively and efficiently.

My position

I, the author, am torn between these two camps. I agree it is probably not fair to those who can’t afford to buy a house and that the expense per tonne of C02 saved is too high.

On the other hand, seeing my government take renewable sources of energy more seriously seems a major step in the right direction. The technology is there and using economic incentives is a great way to promote more bottom-up solutions to the problem of creating clean energy. The future lies in people making their own solar PV panels and not cashing in on juicy subsidies but instead going off the grid. Self-sufficiency on a micro-level is needed to make self-sufficiency possible on a macro level.

For those interested: there is a much cheaper way to get solar energy then to buy a ready-made photovoltaic system. And that is to bid for solar cells on ebay and then build your own casements. A guy called Mike has a brilliant website showing you how it is done. It is to guys like Mike that we should be looking to for advice rather than to be looking to the government for hand-outs.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)