Barker confirms 21p FIT rate: could this spark another mini solar boom?

In an uncertain world even a little bit of clarity is good, so we welcome energy minister Greg Barker's confirmation that, whatever the outcome of the consultation, the 21p rate of feed-in tariff (FIT) is fixed for the period from 12 December 2011 to 31 March 2012. That means that all systems installed in that time will receive that rate (index linked) for the full 25 years of the feed-in tariff.

There is potential for this news to cause another mini boom in solar installations for a number of reasons:

1. Even with the cut in feed-in tariff to 21p, we are still able to offer 8-10% on investment for a well sited solar PV installation.

2. There's a possibility the tariff may be cut again from 1 April.

3. It is very likely that new criteria for eligibility will be introduced from 1 April 2012, which will mean that buildings must meet strict energy efficiency levels before they qualify to receive the tariff.

4. Solar is very popular with the public. A Sunday Times YouGov public opinion poll at the end of November found that 74% of the public want more solar than there is at present, and 67% think that it's a realistic way of combating climate change (this link downloads a pdf).  See earlier blog entry.

5. Some importers have panels they ordered before the review in tariffs that are still in transit - so there may be deals to be done to help overall costs.
While you might not have won the jackpot of the 43p tariff, there's still plenty of people for whom solar PV makes great sense.