UK: Six-week FIT cutoff causes supply shortage

The U.K. Government has given installers just six weeks to complete installations if they are to qualify for the 43.3 pence per kilowatt-hour (p/kWh) tariff, rather than the new 21 pence (p/kWh) rate. Installer James Muse has told pv magazine that the rush to complete installations has meant many wholesalers have run out of module stock and some contracts will be left unfulfilled.

A despondent Muse, whose Azure Eco Ltd Renewable Energy Solutions carries out three or four residential installations per week, said that he believes the suddenness and severity of the cuts will drastically impact the industry. Muse himself employs ten people and he said that it is likely the company will walk away from solar.

Not all installers have reacted badly to the levels of the FIT cuts however, with some larger installers saying that they are in keeping with the reduction in solar module costs. Muse countered, though, that he does not believe that module prices have fallen by 50 percent since the FITs were introduced.

He also added that in a double blow for British photovoltaic installers, new government energy-efficiency regulations, requiring houses to achieve efficiencies of a "C Grade" standard, will mean that many homeowners won’t have the money "left over" for a photovoltaic installation after doing so.

"86 percent of houses in the UK aren’t ‘C’ and above and a lot won’t even be able to achieve that," said Muse. "If you’ve got an old stone house, for someone to be able to get near to ‘C Grade’ rating they will have spend something in the region of three to four thousands pound, before they even think about installing solar."