The Feed-In Tariff scheme is ending.

What’s next for Solar PV?

As the government programme comes to an end, many people are anticipating and wondering what the future holds for solar PV. This is when battery storage takes centre stage.

Why is the Feed-In Tariff scheme ending?

The Feed-In Tariff scheme is officially coming to an end on the 31st of March. The government is removing both the generation & export tariff as solar PV has reached a certain level of affordability that the technology no longer needs to be subsidised.

If you already have solar PV or are having an installation completed before the cut-off date, the agreed duration (20/25 years) that you will receive the quarterly earnings will be unaffected.

The decision has drawn controversy, especially as more issues related to climate change has gained more media attention.

The future is bright

The cost to manufacture solar PV is continually decreasing. Swanson’s Law states that the price of solar PV modules tends to drop 20 per cent for every doubling of cumulative shipped volume. And the price is dropping for consumers too. At present, UK homeowners are limited to installing a 4 kW without requiring permission from the local district network operator. The price for a 4 kW installation has been cut by two thirds since the Feed-In Tariff scheme was first introduced in 2010.

In contrast to price decreases, the overall performance of panels is increasing. The main concern for a consumer is the wattage and this continues to increase without the size of panels changing.

Building integrated solar PV (BIPV) is increasing in popularity as it becomes a more affordable option. Self-builders, renovators and homeowners who are reroofing are choosing to install integrated solar panels and solar tiles/PV slates instead of traditional roofing materials. They are replacing a certain amount of roof space with long-lasting technology that generates long term savings — future-proofing the property for the long term. These aesthetically pleasing options are increasing the popularity of solar PV, as the technology adds curb-appeal to the property and increases its value.

The energy market is changing

Battery storage is going to lead the change

Renewable energy has many benefits but there is one issue: it isn’t constant. Solar panels only produce during the day and turbines only turn when there’s wind. Battery storage offers flexibility by storing any surplus energy for use at times when renewable sources aren’t producing. And thanks to AI software, batteries can offer the fastest possible response to spike demands of energy from the grid.

Renewable energy has many benefits but there is one issue: it isn’t constant. Solar panels only produce during the day and turbines only turn when there’s wind. Battery storage offers flexibility by storing any surplus energy for use at times when renewable sources aren’t producing. And thanks to AI software, batteries can offer the fastest possible response to spike demands of energy from the grid.

These developments are available to consumers. As energy prices continue to rise, batteries offer the ability to use free, clean energy 24/7. Many can charge from the grid too; energy infrastructure is changing and suppliers are offering more time-of-use tariffs. Homeowners can now control their energy usage and charge spare capacities of units with cheap electricity at certain times of the day and night.

Batteries also offer energy security. Many models can operate during a power outage — this isn’t only convenient but sometimes vital. As we reduce our dependence on gas and our electricity usage increases, will the grid’s capacity be able to keep up? If you are a business, you may not be able to afford to lose power for a duration of time.

One answer to solving these problems is decentralising the grid. Ideas like grid-sharing are being put into place. Digital technologies are allowing batteries to create virtual networks. Neighbours will be able to share, buy and sell energy with each other. At present, we waste half of our energy by having it travel miles down the grid from a fossil fuels source to our home. Why not produce our own energy and share it between communities?

The energy market is having a complete overhaul. It won’t be as simple as a price per unit anymore. Thanks to digital technologies, energy is becoming a lot more sophisticated but it doesn’t have to be complex.

With a domestic solar PV installation, you can produce your own free energy. The addition of battery storage means becoming more self-sufficient. AI will benefit both the grid and consumers too. The ability for a homeowner to sell their own free energy, when they don’t require it, supports the grid and means they can earn from their solar PV & battery installation.