Campaigning For UK Solar Owners Underpaid By Utility Companies

Paying top whack for the right to be ripped off

The London Times has exposed shockingly low rates paid by some Utility companies for surplus PV power generated by their customers. And Solar panel owners are comparing ways to claw back some of the money.
Suppliers charge 34p per kWh — but pay as little as 1p for the electricity they buy from householders, despite higher energy prices.

One reader on the web site says: “Ofgem should make it mandatory that the energy companies pay for export at a similar price as the import price, similar to octopus flex tariff.

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“If Government really want to support and promote Roof solar panels there should be net metering and stop all the noise about batteries etc, consumer pays the same price for export and import. In Australia two third households have solar panels whereas in UK it’s 10%.”

And another readers adds: “Only in the UK are you ripped off ! In France and Germany excess solar power is banked so acting as virtual batteries. You pay a nominal sum to get it back. In Spain price reduction/ subsidies can be as high as 60% for pv and battery.”

the precise way UK consumers can fight back against the rip-off Utility companies is complicated. you can buy cheaply between midnight and 06:30 and sell back anything unused and not needed for the following day. The differential between “buying cheap” and “selling dear” are fairly constant and do not appear to be markedly affected by the Ukraine situation.

“The best sell-back prices are usually between 16:00 and 19:00, says another reader. “There are apps that automatically manage the process, including the weather forecast for you precise location so you will know how much solar you should have). This allows a degree of automation as to what to buy and sell. It is a real eye-opener. My 4.2kWp Solar PV and 12.8kWh battery storage system is being installed this week. Cannot wait. The economics are transformed by the “agile” rates.”

However, the government did not set a minimum that suppliers that have to pay. E, which has about 300,000 customers, pays the lowest at 1p per kilowatt hour (kWh) exported, according to the website Eon and EDF pay 3p per kWh, although they have better rates if you also buy energy from these suppliers.

A typical 3.5kW solar system costs about £5,500, and this would produce about 2,646 kWh a year, although it depends on your location and the weather.

If you don’t have a battery to store your electricity (they cost between £3,000 and £6,000) you will lose about half of it —

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Rooftop Solar Incentives – Win Some, Lose Some

From Inglewood to India, via Slovenia and Spain, rooftop solar funding is in a state of flux.

While California has suspended its statewide incentives, the Federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has funding for the next  decade,  Households that outfit their homes with rooftop solar can receive a tax credit under the IRA to cover 30% of the cost of installation, effectively knocking the cost of installing solar down by thousands of dollars. To use the tax credit, you can install solar power on your property, but you must use a licensed solar installer certified by an organization like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, which adds to the cost — effectively cancelling each other out.   According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, the average size for a residential solar system is 5 kW, costing around $20,000. At that price, the claimable tax credit would be $6,000.

The tax credit for solar is set to last until 2032, at which point it will lower and then expire in 2035 unless Congress renews it.

In California, according to a recent study reported in The Bee, California lacks a specific plan to achieve ambitious goals to reduce pollution by 2030. That’s no surprise in light of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s skyrocketing rates and the California Public Utilities Commission’s recent passage of regulations that reduce “excess” solar production credits to ratepayers by 75%. “Just when we need to encourage more people to buy electric cars, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the PUC implement rules that will help kill home solar sales,” says an opinion piece in the Bee. They talk a good game, but how about putting some walk into all this talk? The writer calls for repeal of the solar regulations and drastically reduced utilities’ rates.

Meanwhile, under Slovenia’s just-announced incentive scheme, subsidies for rooftop solar systems with batteries are ten times higher than for those without them. Households and firms could get up to EUR 500 per kilowatt-hour of installed capacity of a facility with batteries, and only EUR 50 for PV systems without storage (down from EUR 180). Subsidies cannot exceed 25% of the total investment.

However, not all batteries are eligible for the incentives. Households and firms must install storage with a capacity of 0.7 hours of operation of the capacity of installed solar power plants. A 10 kW PV system must have a 7 kWh battery.

As Europe’s sunniest country, Spain was one of the leaders in solar power at the start of the century until the 2008 financial crisis halted the boom.

Since then, it has fallen behind neighbours.

A right-wing government threw shade on the sector by cutting subsidies. It then introducing a tax on households that sold excess electricity to the national grid, a move derided by critics as a “tax on the sun”.

But the tax — which NGOs say …

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