DORSET ENERGY EXPERTS SET TO CHALLENGE GOVERNMENT

A Dorset based renewable energy company is challenging the government over its eco credentials ahead of this week’s Clean Energy Ministerial which will see representatives from more than 20 nations in London to discuss low-carbon energy.

Mike Stephenson and Paul Bullimore from H2Eco in Holton Heath, Poole have recently written to local MPs and also to Charles Hendry, Minister of State, at DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) to complain about the government’s mishandling of the Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme, and the way they are misinforming the general public about solar power options.

Mike Stephenson said, “When he came into office the Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to lead the ‘greenest government ever.’ What we have seen is a ham-fisted mess with mixed messages being issued to the public, resulting in a drop of solar panel installations by a stunning 96%.”

Since the introduction of the Feed in Tariff in 2010, the amount of renewable energy from UK homes grew by more than 41 times. Homeowners were offered the incentive of a 45p FiT for each unit of solar power sold back to the national grid. Due to the impressive uptake in solar installations, the government took a U-turn and revoked the funding to 21p per unit. A High Court challenge ruled that those already on the higher rate were legally entitled to maintain this for the 25 year period, whilst new installations are now paid the lower rate.

Mike added, “For a government that claims to be wedded to green targets they have single handedly cut down the number of people prepared to invest in renewables. They have been reckless and have thrown the solar industry into disarray.”

On Thursday [26 April 2012] the Prime Minister is set to make his first ‘green’ speech, and the H2Eco team are eagerly awaiting any new developments.  H2Eco partner, Paul Bullimore added, “We feel very angry at the government’s mishandling of the situation. Yes we care because it potentially has a detrimental impact upon our business, but we are equally as aggrieved because we are passionate advocates for renewable energy and ways to help save the planet.”

In their letter to MP’s, the H2Eco team challenged the government’s calculations and data about the costs of installing and running a photovoltaic system on an average home.

Mike commented, “It is totally wrong to state that a solar panel system only generates a 4% return. They have miscalculated and misinformed the public in this regard. The cost of components has dropped by 50%, and the systems are very efficient. An average installation now costs around £8,000, and customers should expect a comfortable 10% return, up to 15% on larger systems. This sure beats any return on investment currently available from high street banks.”

The pressure is still on however for any home owners considering cutting their fuel bills by supplementing with solar power. The 21p Feed in Tariff is set to be lowered again by the government in July this year.

H2Eco urged Dorset homeowners to act quickly if they are thinking about renewable energy. Paul stated, “At the moment the expectation is that the FiT will fall from 21p to an even lower rate. However, if you have a solar power system installed before the end of June, you will still be guaranteed the 21p rate for the next 25 years.”

The H2Eco team also have an exciting new development in the pipeline, which has attracted interest from Annette Brooke, Lib Dem MP for Mid Dorset & North Poole. Mike said, “Annette Brooke was interested to hear about our concerns, and also about a new innovation we are currently devising. She hopes to be paying us a visit in the near future.”

Paul Bullimore and Mike Stephenson are angy at the government's U-turn on solar investment

H2Eco offers advice on all aspects of renewable energy across Dorset and the south west. For details visit www.h2-eco.com or call Mike or Stephen on 01202 918486.