The Governments shock decision to slash the Feed in Tariff for Solar Photovoltaic panel schemes has ruined the plans of many social landlords the length and breadth of the UK this week.
The decision by the Government to cut the tariff by such large amounts, from 41.3 to 21p per unit for domestic installations and 41.3p to 16.8p per unit for multiple sited projects will render schemes by Housing Associations and councils unviable and may leave some organisations with big monetary problems if they have signed contracts for dates after the December 12th deadline set by the Government. Many housing associations will certainly have spent time and money researching the project and checking if landlord insurance policies cover the the structures to go up on domestic buildings.
Matthew Rhodes, a managing director of a company who were fitting the panels, said “One of the worst aspects of this week’s FIT announcement is that organisations who have taken this more thoughtful approach stand to suffer most, because their development times are often longer and they may be part way through installation programmes, already tendered and commissioned, that cannot complete before the December 12 deadline.”
It is the second time in a few months that the Government have moved the goalposts on the Feed in Tariff and the “green” credentials of the Coalition have taken a big knock. The news will come as a blow to many private companies who have set up businesses over the last 12 months thinking solar panel installations were here to stay. It will be an even bigger blow to individuals who have paid for courses which qualify them to start up their own businesses fitting the panels.
An ambitious plan which would see to two of the poorest inner city areas in Leeds totally transformed has finally got Government approval. Councillors are delighted because the hold-up was costing around £1m a month due to rising costs.
The PFI (Private Finance Initiative) project which will totally revitalise the Little London and Holbeck areas had been delayed as it was subject to a Government Value for Money review. At long last the Treasury has given the green light for the £181m scheme and the council have appointed their preferred bidder (Sustainable Communities for Leeds). It is expected that the Coalition will sign the contract early in the New Year, enabling the work to start in the spring of next year. Sustainable Communities for Leeds will be building four hundred new council properties which will all be protected by a landlord insurance quote as well as refurbishing another 1,200 existing council homes and making some major environmental improvements to the area.
Councillor Keith Wakefield said: “This is a massive project for the city, representing investment of £180m in deprived inner city areas, so it is a huge relief that the Government have finally given us the go-ahead. We always had faith that this was a very strong project, which has made the hold-ups all the more difficult to accept. It is tremendous that we are now in a position to move forward. Hopefully this will bring an end to the uncertainty for the communities involved.”
The 20-year PFI contract will also include a repairs and maintenance service for all of the newly built and refurbished council homes. The delays in getting the approval for this project have been frustrating for everybody. The project will not just transform the communities; it will also provide job opportunities for the area over the next few years.