Sun Setting on UK Solar?
It’s not uncommon for TreeHugger to praise the good green goings on in the UK, such as the recent announcement that all domestic electricity could be supplied by wind by 2020. But a report in the Telegraph newspaper casts some doubt on our enthusiasm. Exploring the reasons why Britain ranks last in Europe for solar power, reporter Sarah Lonsdale puts the blame squarely at the feet of government:
Figures for per capita production of solar electricity show that the UK is 15th in Europe, behind Spain, Greece and Italy. These countries have more sun but, to our shame, we lag behind Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Holland.
"I missed out on £5,000 of grants because as I was building the house, the Government was in the process of changing the grants system," says [David] Street. By the time he managed to obtain his grant, it had become a flat rate of £2,500 per household, and as a result he had to cut back on the number of panels he installed.
The report looks to countries like Spain and Germany as role models, where solar homeowners are paid as much as 30p (60 cents) per kWh (kilowatt hour) for electricity they sell back to the grid as a result of Government support, while UK rates vary from utility to utility, starting at nothing, through to a high of 18p (36 cents). It looks like the UK has some catching up to do.