It's still a sunny outlook for solar power - no matter the weather
By Mark Owen | 8th March 2019
Solar energy is ready to stand on its own and compete against conventional energy generation, despite the government pulling the plug on a subsidy scheme.
The feed-in tariff subsidy is set to close to new entrants from March 31 2019, but Toddington-based solar energy specialists Mypower believe that the closure is not the bad news businesses may predict.
The award-winning company, which installed 150 solar panels on Gloucester Cathedral and which leads the market in supplying solar systems to SMEs, corporations and farmers believes the market will hold.
Ben Harrison, managing partner at Mypower believes the demand for the product, as well as the desire to tackle climate change will see demand remain despite the end of the subsidies.
"Ending feed-in tariffs removes reliance on government policy, which is a positive move for companies," he said.
"Previously, there was uncertainty about how government policy would change, along with widespread negativity reacting to announcements over the years, dissuading many from considering solar power at all."
Time was that subsidies were needed in order to make solar power affordable, with many companies seeing that as making them commercially attractive and increasing demand.
But with systems far more efficient than in the past and now significantly cheaper to produce (as shown in the table opposite) solar is able to stand on its own two feet.
Harrison said: "Over the last two years, we have seen electricity prices for SMEs increase by more than 35 per cent, effectively removing £35,000 off the bottom line for a business previously spending £100k on electricity.
"This, combined with the significant reduction in the cost of having a Solar PV system installed to generate electricity to use on site, means solar energy no longer needs subsidy.
"In fact, the capital cost per unit to generate your own electricity from a solar PV system is now less than 5p per unit, compared to buying it in from the grid at today's market value of 14.5p, including levies."
"Commercial-scale solar power can now compete on the free market, as it offers electricity at around 70 per cent cheaper than grid supplied electricity.
"This adds certainty to energy prices for 25 years by ensuring a significant proportion of a company's electricity has a fixed price and reduces companies' carbon dioxide emissions.
"The FIT scheme has proved to be the incentive that stimulated end users' interest. It has done its job, is no longer required and needs no further debate.
"The opportunity is there for forward-thinking businesses to take control of their energy costs and invest in the production of their own electricity.
"We now have an energy solution far more affordable to businesses, easily leased or financed and not reliant on subsidy.
"With such dramatic electricity price increases, solar is no longer about payback or ROI, it is about being able to be in control of your own supply of electricity at a price around 70 per cent cheaper than grid electricity".
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