FITs. Helping us generate energy or just a money making scam?

When the FITs were introduced I thought the rate was overly generous and unsustainable. A 10% return on investment would mean that anybody with a shed load of cash would get on the bandwagon, who cares if it generated any renewable energy, lets make some money!

My credentials, well read my other blogs, but yes, I bought 2.6 kilowatts worth, I paid £11,000 and had I delayed a year would have got the same for about £9,000 . Yes, I would have been financially better off by delaying my installation.

Which is why I welcomed the sharp drop in FIT rates, When the Feed in Tariffs started the standard 2kW system would cost about £12,000 or approaching £20,000 if you got scammed.  Prices have come down to as low as just over £6,000 almost half !  So, if £12K  was a great deal when FITs were 41p and index linked, why is £6K  not the same great deal with FITs at 21p !!  Actually its a slightly better deal!

To my mind the solar companies have really shot themselves in the foot. Rather than saying that low installation prices would make the drop in FITs match the return that early installers got, they said that solar panels were now unaffordable  But they are the cheapest they have ever been!  The idiots have told the public not to buy their product!

21p means the FIT scheme can be retained for far longer, it means the cost of installation can comedown and the industry retained.  At 43.3 it means the scheme must close overnight when the set amount of money has run out!

Church and charity warn on solar :http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16304817

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Environmentally friendly – the greenwash continues!

” New Army’s HQ Land Forces base is opened in Andover” bbc news story as below.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-11240456

Towards the end of the article: “The new headquarters’ buildings provide a modern working environment that is more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly.” Note the term Environmentally friendly.

Then

Those in married quarters will remain in Wilton and commute to the new workplace 20 miles (32km) away. The Army has arranged “assisted transport” for those who do not drive.

And there are 2,000 of them, many who will have moved to live near their existing place of work, I  wonder if staff commuting and availability of local accomodation was ever considered. It makes a complete mockery of the term environmentally friendly!

I suffered the same foolishness when working for the Foreign Office. Living in Kent and commuting by train to London, (as everybody in the department did) I, along with everybody was re-located to a site near Milton  Keynes, right out in the middle of the countryside, everybody had to commute by car a significant distance.

Again, the environmental and cost saving claims were no more than greenwash and foolishness. All it meant was the FO could sell an expensive London office, sod everything else!

With regard to the new environmentally friendly offices. No mention of solar or wind?

Joined up Government? NOT!

I have commented on the Government’s kick in the teeth for the pioneers of renewable energy. Our generated electricity clearly has a far lower worth than newer renewably generated electricity – yet its the same and actually has done far more good for the industry and cost us more than energy coming on stream now!

Now, not content with undermining the renewable energy industry by kicking the pioneers in the teeth, but they are going to do their damndest to kill off some of the the most effective parts of the industry.

At the moment, anybody taking advantage of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme grant scheme can expect a grant of £400 for the installation of a solar water heating system. This can represent a worthwhile 10% rebate on the average cost of  £4,000. This money runs out in about two months! Lets say June 2010

In April 2011 there is the new scheme, the Renewable Heat Incentive which pays a rate for energy generated / CO2 saved for systems that generate heat renewably.

So, anybody who has done the minimum of research will see that it will pay them to delay any installation that might miss the LCBP until the RHI comes into effect. Potentially a 10 month gap for installers that will almost certainly drive many into bankruptcy!

Worse than that, the companies that rely on marketing, pressurized selling techniques with significantly overpriced but low quality systems will hardly feel the effect.  They will survive while the companies that are working within a tight margin to ensure a high quality fair priced system will fail!

Click here for a full explanation of what is going on and the letter that has been written to Alistair Darling can be seen here

A Note on Sales Techniques.

When I was promoting Solar systems about 5 years ago, after a mail drop I got 600 positive responses out of about 100,000. Actually that is good. Of these responses, each being visited by a technician, no hard sell just a system being promoted on its merits and low price I got 3 sales.

I spoke to a competing company that used pressurized selling. My systems sold for less than £4,000 theirs, using the exactly the same equipment (I was put in contact through the supplier) were generally sold for between £7,000 and £9,000 basically whatever they could talk the customer into paying. They were categorical that they would have converted between 30% and 50% into sales!

The supplier dropped this installer, they were unhappy with their sales methods!

Corporate Responsibility is not an option, it is a Business Imperative

The following is a press realease from the recent Corporate Responsibility Conference, Bentley Motors, Crewe on Friday 10 October 2008.

At last we are getting a real focus on business taking a lead on alternative energy, lets hope its British business as well as the Germans. Also that the movement to this form of corporate responisbility manifests itself with real activity, not cheating through buying carbon offsets!

With expert business analysts predicting that by 2030, more people in Germany will work in environmental technology than in the car or machine tool industries* and that the worldwide transition to energy efficient buildings will generate between 2 – 3.5 million green jobs in Europe and USA*, it was not surprising that The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) attracted a healthy audience for its North West Region Corporate Responsibility Conference, held at Bentley Motors Ltd in Crewe.

North West Regional Director for the ICAEW, Mark Hale, commented:

“We were delighted with the turn-out for the conference and the inter-action between presenters and delegates. Corporate responsibility is no longer being seen as an option, but as a business imperative. We knew it would be a topic which attracts strong views from all sides and, given chartered accountants work at heart of every business across all sectors throughout the region, we felt it was incumbent upon us to start addressing the concerns, the problems and the solutions.”

Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin was the conference chair and opened the day with a short presentation which reflected her personal commitment, instilled as she explained by her parents’ values and approach to life, to reducing our impact on the environment.

The keynote speaker was Mark Goyder, founder director of business-led think–tank Tomorrow’s Company, and an award-winning speaker with 15 years manufacturing experience.

He described the groundbreaking business report by eleven CEOs of major businesses   “Tomorrow’s Global Company: challenges and choices” . Businesses needed to redefine success, embed values, and collaborate with others to create new frameworks which allowed competition that did not harm the environment.

He spoke about the global financial crisis and drew this lesson for corporate responsibility. “Successful businesses need to balance their focus on results with a focus on behaviour. Every time we forget this we destroy value y destroying the conditions needed to build trust – as happened with Enron.”

Other speakers offered both impassioned and practical insights – Les Richards from the Carbon Trust explained how money and energy saving went hand-in-hand, Sue Ratcliffe and Richard Leopold from Bentley outlined the company’s CR strategy, Phil McVan from True Energy showed examples of successful renewable energy project

After lunch delegates heard from Robert Epstein (Microsoft) and Adam Hart from O2. The day ended with a Q&A panel session chaired by Maggie Philbin.

ICAEW North West Region would like to thank Bentley Motors Ltd and sponsors O2, Microsoft and financial recruitment firm Greenwood Gleeson.

The Institute’s new Business Sustainability e-learning programme (BSP) aims to raise awareness of the business case for Corporate Responsibility and the issues which face companies in becoming sustainable. For details visit www.icaew.com/businesssustainability

text provided by True Energy Ltd