COMMONS

Solar Feed-in Tariffs

The Environmental Audit Committee and Energy and Climate Change Committee are today calling for evidence on the Feed-in Tariffs for small-scale Solar Photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy, with a view to hearing oral evidence later this month.

The Committees will examine the factors Government should consider when setting the rate of the Feed-in Tariffs in future, including the impact on electricity bills, ‘green jobs’, take-up of other renewables and energy-saving behaviours. The Committees are interested in receiving written evidence that looks at the following themes of the inquiry:

    a. Impact to date of Solar PV Feed-in Tariffs and the state of the solar energy market;
    b. The balance between affordability and delivering the objectives of the Solar PV Feed-in Tariffs, including factors to consider when setting the rate of small-scale Feed-in Tariffs including jobs created, emissions reductions and energy-saving behavioural change;
    c. The way in which the Government has managed the Solar PV Feed-in Tariff, the impact this has had to date, including the management of the Consultation;
    d. Affordability of Solar Photovoltaic energy versus other renewable energy (given the overall levy-funded cap for energy bills) and the impact of Feed-in Tariffs on energy bills; and
    e. Experience of similar incentive mechanisms for renewables in other countries.

 

Background information

Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) were introduced on 1 April 2010 to encourage the deployment of small scale (less than 5MW) renewable energy generation by businesses, communities and individuals. FiTs provide a payment for the electricity generated from installed renewable energy technology and a further payment is made for any energy generated but not used and ‘exported’ to the grid.

The FiTs have stimulated an increase in small-scale renewable generation, primarily solar PV - equivalent to 70,000 solar panels being installed since the scheme started.  Some research has suggested that up to 10,000 jobs are expected to be created by April 2012 in the solar industry alone as a result of the current FiT tariff, with the potential to rise to 50,000 by 2015.

DECC estimates that a typical solar PV installation could reduce energy bills by £140 per year and could earn around £900 per year (tax free) for the household or business for the next 25 years. FiTs are not paid for by general taxation. Instead the cost is spread between energy companies who recover the cost from consumers.

The Government is undertaking a comprehensive review of the FiTs, including tariffs and qualifying technologies.   Phase 1 of this review will focus on Solar PV Feed-in Tariffs. A consultation on proposals under Phase 1 was launched on 31 October and is due to close on 23 December.  Phase 2 will consider wider issues including tariffs for non-PV technologies, new cost control mechanisms and administrative aspects of the scheme. The tariff for larger solar PV (between 50kWh and 5MW) was reduced in August after a ‘fast track’ review.

The Committees invite organisations and members of the public to submit written evidence, setting out their views on these issues. More wide ranging responses are also welcome. Submissions should ideally be sent to the Environmental Audit Committee by Wednesday 23 November 2011, although later submissions may be accepted. Guidance on preparing submissions is set out below.


For written submissions please note:

Each submission should ideally:

  • Begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  • Have numbered paragraphs; and
  • Be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to [email protected] and marked ‘Solar Feed-in Tariff’. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

Clerk of the Committee
Environmental Audit Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London
SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:
http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/witnessguide.pdf (PDF PDF 1.25 MB)


Please also note:

  • Material published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

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