Has the Solar PV industry shot itself in the foot?
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.
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