The number of PV installations on residential houses connected to the national grid has seen rapid growth, initially as a result of the government’s subsidy program which grew from the agreements made at the Kyoto conference of 2005. 

This demand was also driven by a change in attitude by more and more individuals and companies who had the desire to source their electricity from a clean, non-polluting, renewable source.

By the end of 2019, the world’s installed solar power had jumped to about 629 gigawatts, and by the end of 2020, another 260 gigawatts had been added.

From April 2010, up to the end of the scheme in March 2019, the UK government had been paying householders an amount of money referred to as the Feed-in Tariff (FiT). This tariff was paid at two different amounts. Firstly, there was an amount paid for each unit of electricity that the solar system produced. In addition, an amount per unit was paid on 50% of all the units that each system produced; referred to as the Export Tariff.

The other important factors in relation to these payments is that (1) they are guaranteed for a period of 25 years; (2) they are indexed linked and (3) they are tax free.

All these arrangements were reviewed on a 3 monthly basis and step by step the benefits were reduced; the 25-year guarantee payments were reduced to 20 years.

None of any changes were retroactive, so whenever the review deadlines approached, many people were spurred on to get systems because they realised  that once they had joined the scheme, all the benefits were locked in for the duration of the period contracted with the government.

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