Antoinette Sandbach MP: By putting their faith in small scale renewables, like solar, ‘prosumers’ can produce electricity and sell it to the National Grid. Sandbach writes ahead of her Westminster Hall debate on the ‘Effect on the solar industry of the replacement of the feed-in tariff’. Energy, like many areas of Government policy, is rife with arcane terminology and baffling acronyms. This complex dialect requires people to know their SEG from their FIT, but it has thrown up one new word which means more, rather than less, than the sum of its parts. A ‘prosumer’ is a person who both produces and consumes energy. These people have turned the energy market on its head. Whereas once the process was one-way, big energy producers generated electricity, they then sold it to individual homes and businesses which consumed it; now prosumers have upended that old-fashioned idea. By putting their faith in small scale renewables, like solar, prosumers can produce electricity and sell it to the National Grid, as well as consuming both the electricity they produce themselves, and more that they buy from the Grid. These prosumers were able to sell into a market dominated by big energy companies because of the Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme. This was a scheme which paid out to those who had installed renewable technology. If you put a solar panel on your roof or your village builds a small-scale hydro project, such as the Archimedes Screw in my constituency, then the FIT would ensure a fair rate of return for the excess energy you produced and put into the Grid. For an industry where big companies are used to selling to small consumers at whatever price they care to set, this is a revolutionary change. However, the Government has now ended the FIT scheme, and promised a ‘Smart Export Guarantee’. This is a welcome commitment and demonstrates the Government’s ongoing support for renewables. However, there are several issues with the new scheme. The first is that is does not guarantee a minimum ‘floor price’ for the power put into the Grid. While the Government has accepted that prosumers should not receive zero payment for the power they produce, there is still a gap between this and the minimum price necessary to breathe new confidence into the market. This would bring renewables into line with other parts of the energy industry, such as offshore wind and fossil fuels which enjoy considerably greater protection.
Politics Home 5th March 2019 read more »
A solar energy company has had the go-ahead for two new sites. Ty Solar homes, the low-carbon factory-built timber homes made in Wales, has received planning approval at sites in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. The homes have one of the highest Energy Performance Ratings of A+++ and are designed to reduce energy costs by using the power of the sun. They are the brainchild of one of Wales’ most innovative start-up companies, Western Solar Ltd, with homes having been built in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, Glanrhyd and Trefin, Pembrokeshire, for Coastal and Ateb Housing Associations.
Wales Online 5th March 2019 read more »