Since rates were confirmed in April the UK Government Feed-in-Tariff scheme (FIT) has provided a viable incentive for homes, communities and businesses to go green with cheaper bills and cash paid for all electricity generated.

What is a FIT?

A FIT is a rate paid to property owners including householders and local businesses for excess electricity generated via a renewable source, such as PV panels or wind turbines and fed into the grid. The premium rate paid is now 41.3p per kilowatt hour (kWh) which is up to five times the market rate and has been guaranteed for 25 years by legislation. Payments come from your existing energy supplier, overseen by Ofgem, with reimbursements in the form of either credit on your bills or cash.

How it works

The most popular method is with PV (photovoltaic) solar panels on the roof of your building. After buying the system outright you are then paid through the FIT for every unit of electricity made. You can even earn more for any excess you put into the national grid system, and solar panels are low maintenance. Wired into a meter in your building it records the electricity made, used and exported.

What is costs

The initial outlay to buy and install PV panels is £9,000-£12,500 which is typically made back within ten years via the FIT. Wind turbines cost between £11,000-£19,000 for larger designs. Once paid off the system then becomes an income generator. A system can earn around £1,000 a year net and don’t forget you’ll be getting your own free power. Energy bills are constantly increasing so this is a viable way of preventing this inevitable cost concern.

FIT schemes worldwide now give property owners and managers a genuine financial incentive for long-term savings.

Germany is sunnier than Australia!

FIT schemes now exist in more than 40 countries worldwide with an increase in property owners using greener energy sources. For example, in Germany where the solar energy industry has experienced a huge uptake since their FIT was introduced in 1991, although it has less sunshine, because of its FIT, it now generates 33 times more solar energy than Australia.

The knock-on effect of a greater uptake in these schemes boosts the whole renewable energy industry, creating jobs at every turn.

Summary

  •  Available to anyone generating electricity
  •  Eligible if producing up to 5 megawatts
  •  Payments for 25 years after installation
  •  Earn from generating, exporting and saving electricity
  •  Expected 8% return on your investment

Go to www.solarguide.co.uk to calculate your own Feed-In Profit

Property Issues

If you are thinking of setting up a FIT scheme consider these points:

  • Consents from mortgagees and subsisting loan agreements may be required;
  • Are PV cells chattels or fixtures?
  •  Does a tenancy agreement contain any restrictions affecting your scheme?
  •  Who is responsible for damage to the building or to the PV cells and the ongoing maintenance of them;
  • What happens if the landlord sells the building or the there is a change of tenant?
  •  Corresponding insurance obligations;
  •  Building Regulations approval;
  •  Eligibility for capital allowances

What’s next?

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has now published a blueprint for low carbon heating technologies to be introduced in 2011 – a supposed world first. It will guarantee payments for technologies such as ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers and air source heat pumps. Watch this space…