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The UK government has had a number of different types of schemes being offered to incentivise households to set up solar panels.
This may appear to be madness to some – why must the government have to pay individuals to save money on their electricity bills? The reason is that as a country, we’re committed by international treaties, such as the one established at Kyoto, to chop pollution levels. Whilst individuals might not care much about their own carbon footprints, the federal government can take into account the harm we do to other people through our own pollution, and try to establish the degree of pollution that is optimal for society. Establishing this quantity to begin with is very difficult – it appears intuitive that no pollution whatsoever would be best. However, you will find benefits to the processes that induce pollution. For example, if people in developing countries get access to cars, then they will cause pollution, but the advantage is because they can then afford to feed their families. Therefore, the benefits in these cases outweigh the disadvantages. However, on the other end, a family enjoying a drive for fun will harm the surroundings, and the enjoyment from doing so probably does not outweigh this, however the family do not care, even though government does!
There used to be a grant system in place, making solar panels accessible. However, this was removed in April 2010, and replaced by the Feed In Tariff, which applies simply to photovoltaic solar panels.
The Feed In Tariff can be a system under which any electricity made by a solar energy system and not used by the household, comes back to the main grid at a set rate per unit of electricity.
In economic terms, this payment system seems better. The reason being it rewards households directly for each and every unit of electricity sold returning to the main grid, which relates more straight to the reduction in carbon emissions than just the fact that the house has solar panels, because different panels have different efficiencies etc. It also means that if households with solar panels are careful to reduce their electricity usage, they’ll be able to sell more returning to the main grid, and so they will benefit financially.
The disadvantage, however, is the fact that poorer households can’t install solar panels. However, the Renewable Heat Incentive, which was announced as going ahead only in October 2010, can be a similar scheme, paying per unit produced for thermal solar panels rather than photovoltaic. These systems are much cheaper to set up, costing about a third around photovoltaic systems, hence it has been a progressive step in the government.solar panel installation, photovoltaic solar panels, solar