De­mand heat­ing up fast for so­lar pan­els

SCRAP GRANT: Calls for in­cen­tive to be axed as ex­perts say it’s hold­ing up in­stal­la­tions

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - RECRUITMENT & BUSINESS - by Trevor Sturgess

DE­MAND for so­lar pan­els is in­creas­ing so fast that the in­dus­try is call­ing for sub­si­dies to be scrapped.

As green is­sues rise up the agenda, so­lar panel ex­perts be­lieve a £400 sub­sidy de­signed to en­cour­age take-up is hold­ing up in­stal­la­tions.

At the start of March, a na­tional monthly al­lo­ca­tion of £600,000 was snapped up by con­sumers within hours.

The Gov­ern­ment cash is dis­trib­uted by the En­ergy Sav­ing Trust to­wards a typ­i­cal in­stal­la­tion cost of around £4,000.

But ex­perts be­lieve that con­sumers would pay for the work with­out a sub­sidy and the money would be bet­ter spent on pro­mo­tion and mar­ket­ing.

As a tip­ping point ap­proaches, with so­lar pan­els poised to be­come as rou­tine as dou­ble glaz­ing as plan­ning reg­u­la­tions ease, more busi­nesses are ei­ther in­stalling pan­els or spon­sor­ing oth­ers.

This week, the Co-op backed an in­stal­la­tion at Fulston Manor School in Sit­ting­bourne. More in­vestors are putting money in so­lar en­ergy com­pa­nies.

Steve Robin­son, di­rec­tor of So­lar Fu­ture, based in Sn­od­land, says that con­sumers ex­pect a sub­sidy and de­lays hold up in­stal­la­tion. He has had so­lar pan­els fit­ted to his home in Sn­od­land and ex­pects to save sig­nif­i­cant sums by us­ing the sun to heat wa­ter.

His sup­plier So­laron makes pan­els in Es­sex and pro­motes their use.

Pay­back

Terry Do­man, of its mar­ket­ing arm So­laron Home, said: “De­mand is in­creas­ing but the grant sit­u­a­tion is hold­ing it back. It’s not a huge amount of money and the pay­back is that we have a planet to pass on to the next gen­er­a­tion.”

Jonathan Shaw, MP for Chatham and Ayles­ford, said it was un­usual to hear calls for a grant to be scrapped but promised to look into the sit­u­a­tion.

“If the grant sys­tem is more of a hin­drance than a help, as is be­ing sug­gested, it’s some­thing the DTI would want to re­view,” he said.

Mr Shaw said the in­volve­ment of Mr Robin­son’s firm, set up in 2005, was good for the lo­cal econ­omy and lo­cal skills.

“The po­ten­tal mar­ket is huge. If we can man­u­fac­ture th­ese pan­els here and see the price re­duced, it would make a se­ri­ous dent in terms of car­bon re­duc­tion,” Mr Shaw said.

Mr Do­man said it was im­por­tant for the pub­lic to use rep­utable in­stall­ers and avoid the “cow­boys jump­ing on the band­wagon to make a quick buck.”

De­mand is in­creas­ing but the grant sit­u­a­tion is hold­ing it back. It’s not a huge amount of money and the pay­back is that we have a planet to pass on to the next gen­er­a­tion

Pic­tures: Trevor Sturgess pd1174961 Buy this pic­ture from ken­ton­line.co.uk

So­lar pan­els be­ing in­stalled at the Sn­od­land home of Steve Robin­son, di­rec­tor of So­lar Fu­ture

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.