Solar panels to heat the hot tub!

The recent announcement by the government of their intention to cut the rate of Feed-in-tariff for PV solar panels from 43.3p p/kwh to 21p, for people who join the scheme after 12th December 2011, has alarmed many. But let’s face it weall knew a cut to the high tariff was inevitable, it’s the speed and severity that doesn’t make sense; although it may get rid of some of the ‘sharks’ in the industry.  What bugs me is why the Government didn’t take a more holistic approach to reducing household energy usage from the start and link insulation improvements and incentives for energy reduction to the scheme.  PV solar panels have become an attractive income generator for those with a spare £12K in the bank, but will it change energy usage.  You may argue that a attractive financial return is just what was needed to kick start the industry. Saving energy to save cash is great, it doesn’t matter if it’s a green choice or not, but to generate an income, and carry on using energy at the same rate, at the expense of others higher energy bills doesn’t seem fair. It’s when I overheard someone enthusing the virtues of the FiT and solar panels so that they could heat their hot tub that I thought we’d got it wrong.  High energy prices make people think about energy usage; feeling that you are getting something for free can lead to waste and that won’t save any carbon.  So a combination of financial incentives for energy conservation and energy generation is needed, and the Green Deal is still a year away.