The incredible rate at which the solar industry is growing has often been a topic of discussion on TreeHugger. Often the debate has revolved around the economics of solar, with the numbers looking increasingly favorable for us little people. Now UK-based renewable energy enthusiasts, already bolstered by the government’s ambitious wind energy targets announced over the weekend, will be pleased to hear that Scottish and Southern Energy plc has announced a new, extremely competitive tariff for householders and small businesses using solar energy. The tariff not only offers a good price for energy exported to the grid, but it also aims to greatly simplify the process of producing energy and getting paid for it, as many owners of solar energy systems have not been taking advantage of the income from Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) that they are entitled to, due to the perceived complexity of the system. Under the terms of Solar Energyplus, as the utility is calling it, in addition to buying from, and selling energy to, the customer, Scottish and Southern Energy will also install the export meters, act as the ROC agent and seek ROC accreditation for customers free of charge. Jeremy Leggett, CEO of Solarcentury welcomed the move as a clear step forward for competitive pricing of solar energy:
"SSE has demonstrated true business leadership in the fight against climate change, their new solar tariff will make a substantial difference to the UK solar industry and solar customers alike. A financial incentive for clean local energy production is common across Europe with a fixed feed in tariff, however it does not exist in the UK. In improving the financial case for solar, SSE now provides a market leading service in this country. We applaud their foresight and generous support for the micro-generation sector, as photovoltaics becomes a crucial element in delivering a low carbon future. The new tariff not only sets a precedent for other electricity suppliers, but is essential for the commercial success of a decentralised energy market."