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Solar Fit payments to be cut from 43p to 21p

But you can still get the full 43.3p, apparently guaranteed for 25 years, if you commission your installation before 12th December 2011, not the end of March 2012 as previously thought.

This is what the papers say:

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is expected within days to announce a cut in the “feed-in tariff” (FiT) from its current 43p per kWh to about 21p per kWh, the Financial Times has learnt.

The move is likely to prompt a pre-Christmas rush by families to install solar panels on their roofs before the current generous subsidies are halved.

The new figure is high enough to maintain investment in the industry in the coming years but will stop what officials see as an overwhelming take-up by households.
Solar companies had been afraid that the FiT could be reduced to 9p per kWh, as had been urged by some within DECC. At that level it was feared that the industry would be decimated.
“There has been a big tug of war over this,” said one Whitehall source.
The turf war over small-scale solar did not involve the Treasury but was instead fought within DECC over the £860m allocation for the current spending round for feed-in tariffs in general.
The money does not come directly from government, but via a small charge added to electricity customers’ bills.
One Tory MP said that Mr Barker, who played a key role in setting up the FiT scheme while in opposition, had “fought tenaciously” to keep it on track.
While the FiT system exists to encourage all forms of renewables, some 97 per cent has gone into the solar industry, prompting ministers and officials to seek to put a brake on the spending.
The number of solar installations has almost doubled since June to just under 80,000 in September.
Labour, which introduced the subsidy in April 2010, had predicted 137MW of solar power in the first two years. Now, 18 months into the period, some 260MW is being produced – with more rapidly coming on stream.
This summer the tariff for large and medium-sized projects was slashed to 8.5 and 17p per kWh respectively, causing consternation among producers.
There will be widespread relief that the new level for small-scale projects is significantly higher. Even some solar power advocates recognise that sharp falls in the cost of solar panels since the introduction of the tariff mean there is less need for the subsidy.
Mr Barker will make a speech on Thursday to the renewables industry’s annual conference in Birmingham.
The minister is likely to tell companies they need to realise that in the current financial climate they cannot expect as generous subsidies as before. But the minister is understood to recognise that solar does still need substantial support for the next few years until it can stand on its own feet.

The news comes amid a cabinet spat between Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat energy secretary, and George Osborne, Tory chancellor. Mr Huhne used a speech on Wednesday to attack “green economy deniers” in what was widely seen as an attack on Mr Osborne.