Figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have indicated that the effect of the change to the feed-in-tariff has been a drop in solar panel installations of almost 90%.

Tariff confusion

The feed-in-tariff officially dropped from 43p/kWh to 21p/kWh at the start of April, however the consultation period and the confusion surrounding the drop started in November of 2011. In the three weeks since the introduction of the new rate just 2.4MW of capacity has been added each week. This is 87% less than this time last year.

The figures seem to recognise the opinion of the solar industry that the cuts were brought in too quickly and were too deep for the industry to bounce back. However the government argued at the time that the scheme was too costly and would mean that fewer homeowners would be able to take advantage.

The minister behind the change Greg Barker has stated that the UK has a target of 22GW of extra capacity provided by solar panels by 2020. However it has been pointed out by Caroline Flint, the shadow climate change minster that it would take 169 years to achieve this at the current rate of installations.

The government point out that three weeks of data is hardly representative. Barker believes that installations will increase as the costs go down. He believes the target is achievable.

Consumer awareness

The Solar Trade Association has pointed out that many householders are aware the subsidies have changed and this is putting them off. However they are not necessarily aware that the costs are now lower and that solar is still a good investment.

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