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23rd November 2011

New deal for 2012!

Start of the Government's Green Deal.

Despite the Government's much publicised wish to cut back the Feed In Tariff (FIT) subsidies payable to producers of energy generated from solar power, 2012 is due to see the start of the Government's Green Deal which is a comprehensive attempt to stimulate wider carbon reduction measures in the UK.

So what is the Green Deal all about?

By way of background, the Government has set a number of ambitious targets to reduce UK carbon emissions and the Green Deal is part of the steps that Government is looking to take to reduce energy consumption in the domestic and commercial sectors.

Domestic homes, for example, are responsible for 25% of UK carbon emissions due to the energy required for space heating and heating of hot water in our housing. 40% of the UK housing stock was built pre 1944 and often with solid wall construction making it hard to retrofit insulation. The Government has previously undertaken measures in the domestic sector such as the promotion of loft insulation, but such approaches will not be enough to enable the ambitious carbon reduction targets to be achieved.

Therefore, the Green Deal has the aim of making it easier for consumers to understand the most effective energy reduction options available to them and also for suppliers to get the right products and services in place.

The Green Deal will work on the basis that customers (commercial as well as domestic) will be advised on a package of energy efficient methods and measures for their use at no up front cost, to be installed by a Green Deal provider. The process will involve advice being provided by an impartial Green Deal adviser who will be able to assess the requirement for individual properties.

The measures will be financed by Green Deal providers and key players such as B&Q, M&S and others have been reported to be coming on board. The idea is that the customer will be able to pay back the cost of any measures under energy bills over a period of up to 25 years. All installations are to be approved and installed by accredited installers.

The current timetable is that the Green Deal is going through a final consultation stage following which legislation is due to be implemented in the course of 2012 with the target of the instigating the first Green Deals in Autumn 2012.

The reduction in the FIT has just been successfully challenged in the Court following a judicial review of the procedure for implementation the reduction. The Government intends to appeal that decision and while the outcome of the case is not yet known, it seems likely that at the end of the day the financial incentives which underpinned the major growth in the solar panel supply industry will end up being cut back. Despite that, the Green Deal should offer a way forward in the achievement of reducing carbon emissions.

Hewitsons CleanTech Group advises suppliers, manufacturers, contractors as well as clients in regard to renewable energy systems, retrofits and related technologies. For more information contact Colin Jones on colinjones@hewitsons.com or 01223 461155.

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