Power to the People
We can’t deny that since the government’s decision to scrap the funding for solar in March this year there has been a significant decrease in the amount of solar system installations across the country. The previous Feed In Tariff (FIT) was closed to new entries from 31stMarch 2019, meaning that all funding for solar systems including panels and batteries fell to the homeowner. The main reason being that the manufacturing and installation costs of solar systems did not warrant the governments financial backing (despite the average system setting you back roughly £12,000… 50% cheaper than in 2011 though – silver lining!). You won’t be shocked to learn then that since the cut of FIT the country saw a 94% decrease in solar installations, people understandably can’t prioritise the cost of solar on top of the ever-rising cost of living.
Paired with the current call to declare a climate emergency, the lack in funding means that the average homeowner is in a catch-22 situation; stuck between wanting to help but having no funding to do so. The government have declared a climate emergency and want to tackle our carbon footprint to essentially be carbon free by 2050 – yet they cut funding available to the people who can make the biggest change, the homeowner.
JP Dallman writing for Forbes Magazine expresses:
‘Society is awakening to the facts of a climate emergency and the need for urgent climate action. Are individuals’ demands, governmental requests, and major funds and companies aligned?’
Thankfully as of today (10thJune) there will be a new government backed scheme introduced to the UK in the effort to encourage homeowners to opt for cleaner energy, it is called the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). This will mean that the excess energy produced and stored by households with smart solar systems can be sold back to energy providers and generate an income. Energy suppliers comparatively bid for the ‘home grown’ energy, and therefore the homeowner will receive the best possible price for their contribution towards a cleaner society! The government is now using this scheme to encourage solar households to install batteries and smart systems – meaning that they benefit at all times from their panels and offload any excess energy back into their local grid instead of wasting it.
Some utility companies such as Octopus and E-on already offer grid trading to their solar customers. This new legislation will do more to encourage society to put the power back in their own hands. The Founder of Octopus Energy, Greg Jackson commended the recent SEG:
“These smart export tariffs are game-changing when it comes to harnessing the power of citizens to tackle climate change”
The SEG is scheduled to be fully operational from January 2020, however many solar households can get ahead of the change by installing smart batteries and meters. Duracell and Social Energy are ahead of the legislation and have teamed up to provide solar households with the tools they need to help tackle climate change head on. The people have the power, now so more than ever!