The British Government has planned to remove current subsidies which are in place for those wishing toinstall solar panels. These subsidies are designed to save consumers money at the same time as reducing CO2 emission. Whilst the Government may see these subsidies as unsustainable in the current economic climate, the saving to taxpayers could be as little as 50p per year.
The latest round of Government cuts seems to be targeting wider subsidies paid to promote energy efficiency. Power stations that are switching from burning fossil fuels to more energy efficient methods such as bio mass may no longer receive the current level of subsidies.
The attack on solar follows attempts to decrease spending on other forms of renewable energy. These include wanting to end subsidies paid to onshore wind farms. This has prompted speculation that widespread cuts in energy efficiency funding will be implemented towards the end of 2015.
The Government say it wanted to reduce a £1.5billion overspend in the amount of subsidies being paid to the renewable energy sector by 2020/21, furthermore, it indicated that more cuts were likely to follow in the near future.
Funding for those wishing to purchase a new boiler are still available through the Scottish Government’s HEEPS Cashback Scheme. However, the wider funding cuts in the renewable energy sector suggest that this too may soon to be under threat. The cutbacks for solar funding were announced with no notice at all meaning that consumers planning to install solar panels may no longer be able to do so.
Schemes such as HEEPS mean that energy efficient boilers are easily affordable, although HEEPS Cashback funding is currently expanding; cuts to other areas of the energy sector threaten the ability of the consumer to purchase new boilers at affordable rates. Furthermore, people are expected to spend increasing amounts of money on heating their home as older boilers become more and more inefficient.
From April 2015 £15 million has been made available for the HEEPS Cashback Vouchers Scheme, of this £10 million will be available for individual households and £5 million will be available for social landlords. Those entitled to HEEPS Cashback could receive up to £500 off the price of a new boiler as well as being rewarded by the benefits of a dramatic decrease in their energy bills, there is also a total of £1,300 in energy efficient installs such as insulation and secondary glazing that save money and actively reduce CO2 emissions.
Boilers of more than 10 years old can be as little as 60% efficient, increasing your yearly heating expense, by not replacing your boiler for a more energy efficient model, energy bills will increase year-in and year-out. This is not accounting for any price increases that the energy companies may choose to implement. Boilers such as a Worcester Bosch boilers are designed for efficiency and are A-rated by the influential consumer survey ‘Which?’ Boilers, which are more than 10 years old, could be saving up to £225 per year just by replacing with a newer model.
If Government cutbacks are implemented across the renewable energy sector the UK may be heading backwards in terms of sustainable energy sources. Richard Kirkman, Technical Director of Environmental Services Group Veolia UK stated that he was increasingly worried by the state of the British energy market: “We appear to be entering another dark age where we will return to total fossil fuel reliance, power cuts, low confidence in UK investment, opening the door for frocking activities to maintain energy security.”
Paul Greaves Manager and Director of Firstcall Home Assist had this to say “The rising fear is that more cuts may come, not only affecting our prosperity but also the consumer. The instantaneous cuts to the Greendeal Finance left Firstcall confused as to why the cuts happened without any warning from the Government.
The whole industry is now worried about other funding streams that may be in line to get cut. One of the most used Greendeal scheme, HEEPS: Cashback scheme has already been affected and we may see further cuts.”
As a result of the Greendeal Schemes last year, home owners all across Scotland were becoming more aware of reducing carbon emissions, to create a healthier world to live in and making substantial savings. That had led to an increase of sales which has allowed Firstcall to employ an additional 25 directly employed Gas Engineers and a further 8 Apprentices.
Firstcall actively look for ways to bring customers the most cost effective way to benefit from energy efficient measures. This might be a thing of the past as we are unsure of the Governments next step in reducing fuel costs and energy prices.