I wrote a few months ago about a move that the UK government had made to reduce the amount paid to solar panel owners for the excess power fed back into the grid to zero. This was an odd move, to suggest that multi-million pound energy suppliers should get energy for free from people off the street who have managed to afford some solar panels seems bizarre. The idea that the reward for doing the right thing on the environment was to give your energy supplier large amounts of electricity but actually then still have to pay them for any used outside sunlight hours and not be paid a penny for the large amount that you give them while you’re out at work was odd.
The government has now decided to reverse this decision. It should also be noted that while it is fantastic that this conservative government has decided to do this, the stupidity of the original move has largely killed the rooftop solar industry in this country in the first place and it is likely to take some time before those companies are ready to trust the government again.
While this move was least in part to try to make sure the bills don’t continue to rise, it goes against so many of the government’s other aims so it seems strange it ever became government policy. Climate change is a real thing which requires large numbers of the UK people to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. On a home level one of the best ways of doing this is to get highly efficient solar panels so that you are no longer drawing power from our energy suppliers that mostly rely on gas and coal power stations. It has also been pointed out that a distributed power system with many points of creation and large amounts of grid storage would be far more efficient than the current setup.
As such not only did this policy intend to give large amounts of money to multi-million pound companies and to steal that from people who have done the right thing over climate change and installed solar panels, but also to slow the UK to move away from carbon emissions to clean power.
It is good that this change has been made, but while I hope that this is a sign of things to come I do not have much reason for optimism. It would seem at the moment that Brexit is taking all the government’s thought and while it is clearly the most pressing thing for them (mistake or not) I would hope that when they have finally sorted it out they get back to pushing forwards with carbon emissions reductions.
There are several things that they could do, including continuing, rather than wobbling on, this support of rooftop solar to force the companies to pull their act together and move to clean generation. This also has the advantage of meaning that as electric cars overtake fossil fuel powered cars, the energy that they will be using will be clean rather than fossil fuel created.