Under a new scheme announced by the government this week, households who go green could earn £900 a year and save £140 on their energy bills.
Cash payments are available from this April to homeowners who install renewable energy technologies like solar panels, wind turbines or produce energy from waste, and sell the electricity they generate back to the National Grid.
The scheme makes low carbon living a more attractive proposition for households, who can now earn money from it to help pay towards getting it installed. Green households are also guaranteed a competitive price for their electricity by the governments new ‘feed-in tariffs’ policy. The price will also adjust in line with inflation.
Ed Miliband, the climate change minister said ‘The guarantee of getting an income, on top of saving on energy bills, will be an incentive to householders and communities wanting to make the move to low carbon living.’
According to statistics released this week, those who install solar panels are likely to save the most under the new scheme. For instance, if you own an average 3-bedroomed house, you could earn around £25,000 over a 25 year period.
The payments under the scheme are tax-free, and could earn an annual return of up to 9% for some households. Miliband said he expects one in ten homes to be generating their own electricity before the decade is out, which means millions could benefit from it.
Critics of the scheme believe it will end up as another ‘green tax’ from energy suppliers, who will want to recover costs from all their customers; increasing average household bills by around £11 by 2020.
The chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Matthew Elliott, warned it was ‘…yet another green tax on energy which will punish ordinary families when they can least afford it’.
Environmental groups like Greenpeace have also criticized the scheme for not providing enough of a financial incentive to attract the masses into going green.
Miliband defended the scheme by saying it would transform the way households view the future of their energy needs. He said, ‘The feed-in tariff will change the way householders and communities think about their future energy needs, making the payback for investment far shorter than in the past.’
He added, it would increase the number of solar paneled homes from 10,000 to 700,000 by 2020.
To find out more about the scheme and how to generate your own energy, visit the energy advisory website energysavingtrust.org.uk.