The Government announced in 2016 that the Feed-in Tariff, which has enabled nearly one million solar roofs in the UK, will end next March. The STA has been pressing the Government to explain what will happen after March 2019 for a long time. Government published its proposals during the summer of 2018, including the shocking revelation that the ‘export tariff’ will also end in March, and provided no clarity on what, if anything, is to replace it.

The ‘export tariff’ is quite simply a fair price for the surplus power that solar homes, solar schools and other buildings put on to the network. Government has proposed replacing the ‘export tariff’ with a so-called ‘Smart Export Guarantee‘ (SEG), which would ensure a payment for electricity that solar-powered homes and buildings put onto the grid, however, there is no explicit guarantee that this would be at a fair, market rate.

Also, Government has not said when the SEG will be implemented, but has committed to closing the ‘export tariff’ in March, leaving a gap in between the two policies. If the Government’s proposals go ahead it means that, until the SEG is implemented, from next March people who invest in solar will be the only ones generating clean power who are not paid for the power they put on the grid. Worse, they will effectively be subsidising the multinational utilities.

We think that’s totally unfair, and so do 350 organisations who have already signed our letter to Claire Perry. So too does the European Union, who have recently put into law the rights of self-generators to receive a fair payment, at market rate, for the power they contribute to the system. Unfair treatment of everyday people who want to invest in solar in the UK risks severely damaging public engagement in climate change mitigation and harming the shift to a smart, clean energy system. It will also deeply damage the solar industry.

 

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