FiT is 'distorting the solar market'

Published:  15 October, 2010

The Feed-in Tariff is distorting the market for solar technology and needs redressing, according to Worcester, Bosch Group's head of sustainable development.

This follows statistics from OFGEM which revealed 3,606 solar photovoltaic (PV) were installed in August, compared to 1,736 in July and 1,397 in June. Meanwhile, figures from the Solar Trade Association showed most solar thermal installers have experienced a 75% drop in orders since May.

Neil Schofield believes the market is distorted in favour of solar PV due to the introduction of the FiT in April.

Schofield said: "It is not the case that we have two competing systems, only one of which can emerge the winner; we believe there is a market for both systems.

"Solar PV is a much higher capital cost solution, but it has the obvious benefit of being electricity-generating and therefore potentially income generating."

He added: "My view is that the market for solar thermal is very different. It is a much lower capital cost solution and is aimed at those whose primary concern is not income generation but energy conservation. I believe it could play a major role in the war against fuel poverty."

Schofield has also expressed concerns regarding confusion among consumers about solar technology.

"It is deeply concerning when you read a letter in a national newspaper from a householder that attempts to calculate a payback period for an installation using a solar PV installation cost and a solar thermal energy saving figure.

"It is clear that many consumers still do not understand the technology on offer and at worst are making decisions based upon very faulty calculations."

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