The UK doubles its subsidies for solar energy

Foto: Wagner Solar
Foto: Wagner Solar

The British Ministry of Energy and Climate Change has increased subsidies for renewable heat. The Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) for solar thermal systems has been doubled to £ 600 (approximately € 707). The subsidies for biomass boilers have been raised to £ 2,000 and heat pumps will receive £ 1,300 for air pumps and £ 2,300 for geothermal heat pumps in the future.

The RHPP program was launched in 2011 and was aimed primarily at households that have no connection to the public grid. The RHPP program is temporary, but was extended in March of this year for one more year. After that time it will be replaced by a feed-in tariff for renewable heat, called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). However, this was already planned last year and has now been postponed again. An RHI for large systems, such as those used by businesses and municipalities, is already in effect and pays 8.9 p/kWh over a period of 20 years.

In order to receive the new subsidies, home-owners are now required to receive an energy consultation, based on the so-called Green Deal. This is to ensure that home-owners are informed about other meaningful ways to save energy on their property. The cost of the energy consultation is supposed to be compensated by the increased subsidy rates.

The British Solar Trade Association (STA) had previously pushed vigorously for an adjustment of the subsidy rates and launched a social media campaign. For this purpose, the association started a blog and focused communication on Twitter using the hashtag #tweetforheat.

Although the feed-in tariff is still a work in progress, Paul Barwell, CEO of the solar association STA, is happy with this stage victory: “It’s great to see that Government has reacted so positively to our suggestions on how to speed up development of the renewable heating sector. The STA led the industry campaign urging Government to consider this proposal and is delighted to see that Ministers have listened to our calls.”

Jan Gesthuizen

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