Since January 2016 when dramatic cuts to renewable energy subsidies, knows as FiTs (Feed-in Tariff), were enacted the UK solar industry has been hard hit. Multiple solar installation companies have gone into administration as demand has reduced. The tariff cut has meant that the high up-front costs of installing solar are no longer easily off-set by selling electricity back into the grid over the life of the panels.
The Guardian has covered the decimation of the industry in this recent article.
What this means for CREW and other community energy groups like us, is that solar projects have become far less financially viable, especially in a city like London, where land availability and air pollution already reduced the generative capacity of solar panels compared to rural projects.
CREW is no longer able to offer solar projects in the same guise, as the guaranteed opportunity to earn back enough money from the panels to pay interest back to banks, community shareholders is no longer assured.
Luckily this doesn’t stop us from doing solar projects. However, we are adapting our business models and financing approaches to ensure we can launch financially viable and environmentally effective projects, ensuring that all community shareholders are paid a fair rate of return on investment.