ANTHONY Kyriakides says small-scale renewables are the way forward
As announced in the chancellor’s autumn statement, new applicants to the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme for domestic solar energy will now receive a reduced rate of payment for the energy generated by household solar PV panels. This may seem a setback for small-scale renewables, however, given the far-reaching benefits they can bring to our homes, this will by no means spell the end for the industry.
In fact, by shifting the focus from subsidies to other, more pressing drivers for consumers – reducing household bills, making homes warmer, supporting energy security – home renewables will reaffirm their value as a worthwhile, achievable longterm investment.
We work with thousands of homeowners who have already made the transition to home renewables.Reducing bills rather than generating income through subsidies has been the leading motivation for the owner. Regardless of whether subsidy payments exist, home renewable energy will always have the power to save money given the abundance of natural resources over fossil fuels.
Having a warm, comfortable home is also important and improvements such as insulation, mechanical ventilation and renewable heating systems can help maintain more ambient temperatures indoors and ensure a ready supply of hot water.
The environment is also an ever increasing driver. The recent spate of severe storms served as a tangible reminder that our climate is changing and that we can all make a contribution towards limiting the impact of this.
Supporting our belief that the incentive for investing in home renewables goes much further than financial subsidy, in a recent survey by Scottish Renewables two thirds of Scots polled agreed that the next government should “continue to take forward policies that tackle greenhouse gas emissions and climate change”.
As we move towards a low carbon future, small-scale renewables will become an increasingly common feature of homes, and this will be led by demand and aspiration, not just carrot and stick incentives and subsidies.
• Anthony Kyriakides is Renewables Programme Manager at Energy Saving Trust in Scotland, www.discoverrenewables.org.uk