One morning two weeks ago, I was awoken by some banging coming from a neighbour's roof. Draw back curtains and, lo and behold, across the street, some guys are up on the roof, seating some PV panels. Now this is a street running North-South, which means the panels are facing due east, so the amount of power they will create will be well down on their designed output.
To me, this was a sure fire sign that the Feed-in-Tariffs (FITS) had gone too far. Harvesting sunlight to make electricity in this manner is never really going to make much sense in a northerly latitude like ours, and doing it inefficiently like this really offends me. No way would anyone ever conceive of erecting east-facing PV if it wasn't for the promise of a big fat subsidy cheque. I've never liked these subsidies (having bleated about them on this blog often enough) and I don't have a huge amount of sympathy for these businesses which have apparently been "caught out" by this week's announcement that the subsidy is to be approximately halved forthwith (actually from December 12th).
Building a business plan on the whims of government renewable subsidies has never been a clever idea, especially in the UK which has a lamentable history in this area. We had Clear Skies, launched in 2003: they cocked that up. We had the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, launched in 2006: they cocked that up. Now the FITs, launched way back in April 2010, show every sign of being cocked-up too. Roll on the Renewable Heat Incentive!