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Campaigning for cheaper solar power

Stephanie Wallis

29th July, 2009

Feed-in Tariffs for renewables are what the UK needs to make home-grown energy more attractive. We look at what the 'We Support Solar' coalition is doing to bring about a change, and take a look at the group's new photography competition...

As part of its Renewable Energy Strategy the UK Government has announced plans for a ‘clean energy cash back’, or Feed-in Tariff scheme for households, businesses and communities investing in solar photovoltaics (PV).

Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) are the world's most widely used policy to drive the implementation of renewable or clean energy. Typically, under effective FiT incentives, small-scale generators of renewable energy are paid a premium, or ‘generation tariff’ for every kilowatt hour (kWh) they produce, and an ‘export tariff’ payment for every kWh that is exported back to the grid.

So far, the UK photovoltaic market has experienced relatively slow progress compared to other European countries such as Germany, whose high tariffs underpin its flourishing microgeneration industry.

However, it is thought that the UK Government’s proposed scheme, due to launch in April 2010, will change this.

One of the major obstacles for the adoption of renewable energy sources is the cost. The retail price of solar electricity, for example, is typically more expensive than the retail price of electricity generated from nuclear or fossil fuels. For the Feed-in Tariff to successfully make the installation of renewable energy more appealing - residentially or commercially - the electricity that is generated needs to be bought by the utility at above-market prices.

MP Colin Challen, Chairman of the All-Party Climate Change Group, and a member of the group ‘We Support Solar’ (see below), has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM 689) urging the UK Government to further acknowledge solar PV and Feed-in Tarrifs.

If you would like to help support an effective Feed-in Tariff for solar energy in the UK, you can ask your MP to sign the Early Day Motion 689.


‘We Support Solar’ photography competition

‘We Support Solar’, a network of companies, NGOs and individuals was established early this year in an aim to encourage a growth in the uptake of renewable energy, with focus on the UK’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT).

In their latest move to raise awareness and increase governmental support of solar energy, ‘We Support Solar’ turned to the arts and created the ‘Celebrate Light’ photography competition.

‘Our brief was to take a photograph that conveys the beauty and potential of light in the UK,’ said spokesperson Charlotte Webster.

‘From a landscape with a cloudy sunrise, or light glistening on a window, to a setting sun reflected in a water droplet, any subject, anywhere was suitable.’

Three winners were chosen out of 500 entries from across the UK that the judges felt exemplified particular qualities.

‘It had to excite the viewer and illustrate the amazing quality, power and richness of daylight.’

To view the winning entries, click on the photo at the top of this page.

For more information, or to see more of the competition entries visit We Support Solar

 

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