Solar power update

Last year a group of GPG members did some work towards setting up local co-operatively owned, community, solar electricity projects. (generating solar electricity from photovoltaic or PV panels) In November 2011 sudden changes by Government to the FIT (feed-in tariff) payments for PV put our plans on hold. The same happened to Brighton Energy Coop, but they were at a much more advanced stage of development, with their projects ready for installation as soon as finance was in place. They were about to launch a community share issue, when Government action stopped them in their tracks.
The FIT is a payment for each kWh (unit of electricity) produced, whether it is used in the building that has the PV system, or is exported to the grid. For a particular PV installation the FIT rate is fixed for 25 years at whatever it was when the installation first started working. FIT rate reductions only apply to installations that start working after the reduction is made.
Since last year, costs of PV panels have continued to fall dramatically and although the FIT rates are now much lower than they were, the economics look viable again. It is a moving target as panel prices continue to fall and the FIT rates will be reviewed and reduced every 3 months. The next FIT reduction has just been put back a month from July 1st to August 1st. If you are thinking of installing PV on your home it makes sense to have it up and running by mid July.
Brighton Energy Coop have now launched their community share offer. The minimum share holding is £400 but if you pay income tax you may get tax relief on your investment if you put in a minimum of £500. The share offer closes on 2nd July 2012.
More information and the share offer document from:
www.brightonenergy.org.uk
Tony Cooke

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