Countdown to the Green Deal
With only six months remaining until the official roll-out of the coalition government's Green Deal, the ground-breaking, energy-saving initiative which it is hoped will dramatically improve the energy efficiency of the UK's housing stock, many environmentalists and those within the 'Green Industry' sector are still unsure about the potential benefits on offer and the criterion involved for inclusion in the scheme.
The DECC, Department of Energy and Climate Change, believe that the initiative will provide homeowners with the opportunity to make energy saving improvements to their properties; cavity wall and loft insulation, double glazed windows or PV solar installations, without the need to provide any up-front financial outlay. This should deliver the potential of optimal energy efficiency to all of the UK's homeowners who are keen to have a stake in an enhanced environmentally aware future.
The Golden Rule
In order to qualify for inclusion in the Green Deal, the householder will first have to prove that the predicted savings to energy bills which will be enjoyed from the improvements made to his property will equal, if not outweigh, the expenses involved in the energy efficiency measures to be undertaken. Compliance with this 'Golden Rule' will be determined by a government appointed assessor who will visit the property and evaluate its suitability for inclusion in the scheme. They will compare the current energy usage against the predicted reductions which could be made and base their conclusions on the results. The DECC is keen to ensure that only properties which could provide adequate cost savings to meet the expenditure invested in the improvements will be included. If the cost of the Green Deal measures could not be recouped within a 25 year period, the life expectancy of the improvements, inclusion in the scheme would be considered non-viable.
The Implications for Solar
From April 1st 2012, the Feed-In Tariff available from the installation of Solar panel arrays has been linked to energy efficiency ratings. This was thought by many to sound the death knell for manufacturers, suppliers and installers within the sector as it would mean that homeowners would no longer automatically be entitled to the highest tariff rates available and take-up rates would decline. Instead of the predicted downturn in the numbers of those looking to install solar panels on their properties, the inclusion of PV (photovoltaic) technology in the government's list of approved energy efficient measures for Green Deal qualification, is forecast to deliver a welcome boost to the solar industry. In order for the homeowner to receive the highest Feed-In Tariff benefits, his property will have to achieve an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of D. The installation of a PV Solar Panel array will ensure that compliance with this stipulation should be met. These measures will, hopefully, guarantee the solar sector a period of stability in the current unpredictable economic conditions and provide UK householders with the best available energy saving technology.