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From our base in Croydon, Solar4us service clients in the South East:-  London, Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and Kent.

By Siva Muthulingasamy, Nov 2 2012 11:38AM

Americans want more power from the sun, but GOP politicians don’t. What’s an industry to do?


Says Michael Grunwald, New Energy Columnist for the Time Magazine November 5, 2012


YOU PROBABLY LIKE SOLAR ENERGY, I know this because I recently got a press release from the solar lobby, “poll reveals strong support for solar energy across political spectrum”. It turns out that 92% of likely voters, including 84% of Republicans, want more sun-powered electricity. In America, solar is motherhood and apple pie.


Of course, in Washington, even motherhood is a partisan issue, some super PAC (Political Action Committee) is probably rebranding apple pie as a socialist dessert, and solar power is now a political football too. Thanks largely to President Obama’s stimulus bill, solar has become the U.S.’s fastest growing industry, expanding more than tenfold in four years and adding more than 100,000 jobs. Prices have plunged nearly 50% since Obama took office.


But many Beltway Republicans who had embraced green energy and green jobs turned against them after they became associated with the Obama agenda. Electric vehicles, which once enjoyed bipartisan support, became Obamamobiles, and Senator John McCain’s cap-and-trade plan became as assault on free enterprise.


And the GOP’s solar talking points now begin and end with a bankrupt, stimulus-funded manufacturer called Solyndra, even though the stimulus also helped finance a half a dozen of the world’s largest solar plants and a nationwide effort to install solar panels on commercial rooftops.


By Siva Muthulingasamy, Jun 2 2012 06:42PM

A two phase consultation on FITs was completed between February and April 2012 and the government has published the results on 24th May 2012 for Phase 2a. The Government announced plans that are designed to provide long term sustainability for the FITs scheme and better value for money for consumers, allowing customers and businesses to plan their investments with confidence.


The key points include:


A tariff of 16p/kWh will take effect from 1st August 2012 for domestic-size solar panels with an eligibility date on or after 1st August 2012.


Increasing the export tariff to 4.5p/kWh for new installations (from 3.2p/kWh)


Reducing the tariff lifetime from 25 to 20 years for new PV installations.


Multi-installation tariff set at 90% of the standard generation tariff, rather than 80% as at the moment, reflecting latest evidence on the costs of such projects.


New tariffs will still provide rates of return of over 6% for typical installations, which makes solar PV a very attractive investment.


New cost control mechanism will reduce solar PV tariffs automatically in line with deployment.


Degression can occur every three months however the rate of degression is dependent on the volume of deployment. If deployment has been low, then degression can be skipped



By Siva Muthulingasamy, May 15 2012 10:36AM

This might be a bit of a controversial statement, but it’s a summary of what we’ve been told by many of our customers over the last few months. The current slump in domestic sales has been unsettling for many within the industry. So, we are asking you the question... Do you think that the Solar PV Industry has really "shot itself in the foot"?


As all industry insiders are aware, Solar PV now stacks up financially just as much now as it did this time last year. With prices for 4kWp domestic systems being widely advertised for £8,500 - £9,500 fully installed, compared with £13,000 - £15,000 only one year ago, Solar PV is now far more affordable than it ever has been and still gives comparable returns. Why then are the domestic customer reluctant to believe this?


Some are suggesting that the acres of negative coverage across all of the major media channels is creating a paralysing doubt in the customer’s minds, meaning that they are resistant to the idea of great returns from solar PV right from the moment they are first contacted by would be installers. Much of this negative press has come from those within the industry. This is the origin of the "shot in the foot" argument.


Has considerable damage been caused by six months of negative statements coming from the industry? Statements which are similar to the following:

- "The revised FiT rates will cause the death of the industry by July 2012”

- “The Government is deliberately killing the industry by removing the subsidy that makes it attractive”

- “Get it now before it’s gone”


Well, we think differently from many in the media and we hope you do too. We think that the demise of the Solar PV Industry has been greatly exaggerated - and that the ability of the industry to respond has been greatly underestimated. We strongly believe that the industry should respond by focusing on positive messages to show that it is still very much alive:

- “Solar PV is now more cost effective than ever”

- “Prices are coming down in line with the returns – Solar PV always has been, and always will be, a great investment”

- “Government cuts to FiTs are more than matched by the industry efforts to reduce prices through better efficiency and lower manufacturing costs”


Of course, we (and all of our customers) do believe that the Government should be lobbied to keep FIT and healthy Feed in Tariffs - as they will benefit all within the sector as well as the rest of the public at large. At Solar4us we have noticed a definite uplift in the market recently across all sectors and it seems that the memories of the domestic customer will be thankfully short.

So, call us, email us. As ever, we’re keen to hear your thoughts on what’s best for our industry and everybody who’s in it for the long term.



By Siva Muthulingasamy, Apr 23 2012 05:19PM

There has been a significant tail-off in installations since the introduction of energy efficiency requirements on 1st April, however this need not be the case as investing in solar still makes very good sense for householders. That’s the message the Solar Trade Association (STA) wants to get out far and wide.


STA Chief Executive Paul Barwell said "despite all the reported ups and downs for the solar industry in recent months we want to get the message across to householders solar is a good investment at current Tariff rates. The 21p/kWh tariff is still producing sound returns on investment of up to 10% because the costs of solar have fallen so fast. Solar is a great investment and spring is a great time to invest."


By Siva Muthulingasamy, Mar 23 2012 05:53AM

Despite the numerous setbacks experienced by the UK solar market, including the unresolved court cases, policy disputes and open consultations, the ever-strong industry has ploughed forward to install a remarkable 1GW of solar power. When you place this figure next to Government’s original target of 860MWp by 2015, you can see just how notable the sector has been against all the odds.


In spite of all this a PV system remains an excellent economic investment with a Rate of Return of 8-9%.pa. This is tax free! If you are a 20% taxpayer this is equivalent to 11% gross, or 14% if you are a 40% taxpayer. In these difficult economic times it is very hard to find returns at this level; banks are typically paying less than 3% gross.


If you are considering an installation then please call us on 0208 654 9000 for a no-obligation discussion.


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