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Solar power chaos

Date: 2 Nov 2011

Solar power companies have been left in chaos as customers clamour to get their installations fully operational before the current feed in tariff rate drops to 21p/kWh.

The government’s latest proposals will see the Feed in Tariff scheme, FITs, cut by more than half on December 12, 2011.

Customers who had been hoping to take advantage of the current 43.3p/kWh are now finding themselves in a busy queue to get their install fitted and accredited by the looming cut-off date.

Operations manager, Billy Dalton, from Plug into the Sun said: “It’s appalling the way they (the government) have treated the industry and people in the industry.”

Mr Dalton said that Plug into the Sun was prioritising existing customers and doing what they could to bring the installation dates forward in order to meet the deadline.

“If we can bring in extra labour so that we can continue to deliver the level of service that we are renowned for, then we will,” he added.

The award winning company is worried about the future of the industry when the Feed in Tariff rate changes.

Managing director, Andrew Tanner, from Plug into the Sun said: “The feed in tariff has provided the security and certainty for many customers to invest in solar. This has also allowed me to invest in the company. Make no mistake we are in this for the long term! "

The solar PV installation company experienced a similar situation when the government introduced the new grant scheme and lobbied hard in order to enable people to benefit from the new FITs as well as the grants available.

Plug into the Sun won some concessions on that occasion and are hoping that the government might alter their proposal in this case too.

"I am working hard within the industry to lobby the decision makers to give people more time and not make the reductions in the feed in tariff so drastic,” Andrew said.

The shock change of tariff means that lots of work will be lost as many large installations are stuck in either planning or Western Power approval.

Customers believed that they had until the end of March 2012 to get their installation fitted and now everyone wants their solar PV fitted as soon as possible.

Andrew Tanner said “We are fitting four months worth of work into four weeks! I understand that the tariff needs to change, but this decision has caused chaos!”