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FIT Update: The Current Position

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 30th January 2012

On Wednesday 25th January 2012 the DECC lost their appeal against the tariff rates and have since announced their intention for further appeal. The court of appeal haven’t yet granted the DECC permission for further appeal but they are seeking direct permission from the Supreme Court in which to do so.

Should they be granted leave to appeal and become successful it could take up to a year before the final outcome is known. This appeal could also mean that they will be able to legislate to apply new tariff from the 12th December reference date.

Oh the uncertainty.

This uncertainty of not being able to guarantee either tariff rate (reduced rate at 21p kwh or last year’s higher rate of 43.3p kwh) on installations made between 12 December 2011 and 3rd March 2012, means that installers cannot correctly promote their services and homeowners are less confident about installing panels when they are less certain about the return of investment.

Delaying the outcome of the case could cause further damage to the industry due to the negative hype they’re continuing to create. The government are very keen not to give away 43.3p kwh as they simply cannot afford it so are trying their best to put off other buyers & installers off solar for selfish reasons until the next consultation on 3rd March 2012.

In an announcement by the DECC and in their formal response to question 1 of the consultation they have however confirmed that tariff rates will be no lower than 21p kwh from 1st April 2012 even if they government win their appeal.

Homeowners should be jumping at the chance to get involved as they may potentially be eligible to receive the higher rate of 43.3p kWh should the government lose their appeal. They have already lost twice so it might just be worth the gamble.


Categories: decc, government, feed-in-tariff

Government loses right to appeal FIT tariff ruling

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 25th January 2012

Towards the end of the year we blogged about how the government cuts to the feed in tariff had been ruled unlawful. At the time the government were not given leave to appeal but they then proceeded to do just that. However the Court of Appeal has today denied the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) a hearing for its appeal against the High Court’s ruling back in 2011

So what does this mean?

There is still some confusion about what happens now. Essentially the feed-in tariff will increase back to 43.3p for system installed on or before March 3, 2012. It also means that for many people who had solar PV systems installed since the original proposed cut off date of December 12, and those who intend to install systems before the March 3 cut-off point, will receive the higher feed-in tariff rates for the full 25 years. Installations completed and registered on or after March 3 will qualify for the current higher rate until April 1, at which point the rates will drop to 21p. **(See update below)

The decision is likely to lead to another period of frantic activity and installations for many in the industry. The original announcement was made back in November and provided just over 1 month for installers to complete their installations. As a result more PV installation were completed in November than for previous months in 2011.

Many in the industry see this decision as a victory for common sense and justice:

Daniel Green, CEO of HomeSun, said: “Four judges, including three in the Court of Appeal, have now called the Government’s actions illegal. That’s a four-nil victory and a decisive ruling that Government may not make retrospective changes to the FiT because, as Lord Justice Moses concludes, to do so ‘would be to take away an existing entitlement without statutory authority.’”

“Both this appeal and the Judicial Review in The High Court would not have been required had DECC simply followed its own process and allowed the industry, that it claims to support, time to prepare for a lower feed-in tariff,” continued Green.

It is right that the government be held accountable for their actions and the way in which rash decision and actions impact on industry. However what the industry really needs now and in the future is stability. Hopefully the ruling will help towards this. Greg Barker said it best when he tweeted:

“Win, lose or draw today, important we move forward together, drive down costs + step up deployment.”

This is and will be the key aim for the industry moving forwards.

**UPDATE: 12.30pm: The government within the last hour has confirmed they intend to appeal this decision. As such this again throws uncertainty over whether or not PV installations will qualify for the higher tariff despite the fact it is highly unlikely the government will win this appeal.


Categories: decc, government, feed-in-tariff

Parents urged to be proud of apprenticeships as university places.

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 23rd January 2012

Since Education Minister, David Willets announced an increase in university tuition fees in 2010, students considering further education have been forced to contemplate cheaper alternative routes. In a new push for apprenticeships in 2012, Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg is calling to parents to be more supportive over these alternatives. “Apprenticeships are the gold standard of post-16 vocational education" and "parents should be as proud of their children for securing a top apprenticeship as they are if they go to university.”

Whilst degrees will always be a very valuable qualification, the annual £9,000 tuition fees, the battle with rising living costs and the very possible outcome of unemployment lurking at the end of it all has begun to steer students away from this educational route. This year has already seen an 8% decrease in university applications as UCAS, ‘Universities and Colleges Admissions Service,’ recently reported that 283,680 people that have applied to university from within UK compared to the 306,908 who applied last year.

Since the costly tuition fee increase, alternative education options such as ‘apprenticeships’ are being thoroughly explored by prospective students looking to further their learning. Such terms have seen over a 100% increase in online searches since the initial announcement concerning university tuition fees from Willets back in November 2010.

Please see Google Insight research on term 'apprenticeship' below:

Whereas online search activity for the term 'University' has suffered a slow decrease in search. See below:

“Apprenticeships have always been a big part of Britain and it’s great that the idea of taking an apprenticeship still has such great appeal,” says Carl Bennett, Director of Trade Skills 4U. “Apprenticeships can be excellent routes into an industry as they combine the theory elements of a course with the important practical side; it is this key ingredient that degrees generally miss.” Mr Bennett is the Director of Britain’s Premier Electrical Training Company who currently hold three apprenticeship courses from two of the UK’s Leading qualification bodies; City & Guilds and EAL.

“Many still regard the apprenticeship as the best route into work combining technical education with practical experience helping to enable business and industries to acquire skilled labour. It has added appeal today because it soaks up the growing fears of entrenched youth unemployment as the effects of the recession continue to be felt and the unskilled are left further behind.”

“We’re holding FREE taster days during National Apprenticeship week for young people aged between 16 – 19 years old. We’ve almost sold out on these free places, so young people who are interested need to give us a call if their interested on 01293 529777. These electrical taster days aim to give young people a sample of the industry by detailing what is involved in an electrical career plus some practical training to help you decide if this is right career for you - It’s a great way of test driving a potential new career.

Click here to book your spaces or you can call our team to find our more on 01293 529777. 



Categories: electrical qualifications, electrical training, apprenticeships

Apprenticeship Advice From Britain's Premier Electrical Training Company

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 20th January 2012

Carl Bennett, Director of Trade Skills 4U, Gives His Apprenticeship Advice.

"It’s national apprenticeship week during 6th – 10th February 2012!

Big Deal! What does that mean for me? Another government initiative, I hear you groan?

What it means for you is that training course providers, colleges, employers and those darned government people are trying to encourage you take an apprenticeship by drawing your attention to what’s available to you, and believe me there is plenty!

Why are they pushing this now?

Well Britain needs young people aged 16-19 years old to work in the hundreds of industries that offer apprenticeships as many are crying out for young people to train to become useful employees. University isn’t for everyone especially for those put off by the £9,000 annual tuition fees, so it’s great for those still interested in further education to hear about the vast range of opportunities that are available, apprenticeships being one of them!

What type of apprenticeships are you talking about?

Everything from Electricians to Aircraft engineers from Rolls Royce car assemblers to accountancy staff, you name it there’s an apprenticeship for it.

What is an apprenticeship? How much does it cost?

It’s a training and work and college thing. You take a training course and work at the same time which is an excellent way of learning as you put what you learn into the classroom into practice in the real working world. Apprenticeships are usually funded by various bodies depending on your course but you can always ask for your parents or guardians for help if you want to speed up your training. As an apprentice you’re employed by an employer who will pay you for your work (added bonus) and who will also help contribute towards your training costs. You’ll be a valuable worker once you’ve successfully gained your NVQ which will lead to a decent earning job.

How do I get the job for the apprenticeship? There’s no job about is there?

Actually lots of employers are queuing up for apprentices, the government actually gives employers a cash incentive to encourage them to help out with your training. To help find them, look online or in local newspapers – you can always check out apprenticeships.org for apprenticeship vacancies.

What’s the downside, where’s the catch?

No catch, you’ll have to work and you’ll have to stick at it. It won’t be paid very well at first, but at least you’ll be earning and as soon as you start becoming useful to your employer, they’ll start to pay you more and pretty soon you’ll be earning a decent wage. There’s no secret to it just advice to work hard, train hard, be a good employee and you’ll do just fine.

What should I do to get involved?

Get on the internet and Google the type of job you’d like to do, then search ‘your job role here’ apprenticeship courses and see what comes up. Normally the results will suggest various apprenticeship organisations and training companies that you will be able to do your training with. Next step is to give them a call and they will help you with the rest. So don’t wait, start searching – there a whole world out there you know!"

Carl Bennett, Managing Director of Trade Skills 4U, Britain’s Premier Electrical Training Company.

If you or anyone you know is interested in an electrical apprenticeship, give us a call on 01293 529777 or visit us during National Apprenticeship Week as we're holding electrical apprenticeship tasters for young people.


Categories: apprenticeships

Not Quite The Fairy Tale Ending; Solar Industry Waits on Governments Feed-In-Tariff Appeal Decision.

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 16th January 2012

Once upon a time, the 'greenest government yet ' launched an incentive scheme rewarding a homeowner with 43.3 kwph for every unit of electricity generated via solar energy. This new incentive was called the Feed-in-Tariff which promoted the production of green energy which could be fed back into the national grid. By contributing to the production of green energy, the government agreed to look after the homeowner’s investment by allowing the rate to be protected for up to 25 years.

However in December last year, the fairy tale hit the rocky middle part where the ogre (we’ll call him Greg Barker) rushed to cut the incentive scheme in half because his incentive pot of gold started to dry up. Instead of adapting some sensible planning with plenty of notice, Barker opted for a quick fix which jeopardised nearly 30,000 jobs.

The ‘quick fix’ was cutting the subsidy from 43.3 kwph to 21 kwph overnight and leaving solar PV installers and homeowners with less than 40 days’ notice. Needless to say this sent the industry into panic as homeowners wanted to secure the higher rate and there simply weren’t enough installers to do the jobs they were confronted with. Great news for the installer in the short term, but this opened up a pit of uncertainty as no one could rightly say what the industry would look like in the New Year.

Meanwhile, Environmental and Climate change company, Friends of the Earth started campaigning that the FIT cuts were ‘unlawful’ and won a high court case against the government. Since then, the government appealed the court ruling in early January and we’ve all been clinging to our seats since to hear how this story ends.

Well the ending has been err...delayed and it turns out the judge ruling on the governments appeal case, has postponed his decision which will undoubtedly create more uncertainty for the industry and its future.

How will it end?

Fingers crossed the government loses they’re appeal, the ogre will get a slap on the wrist and everyone can get the chance to get their pot of gold before the inevitable review date of 1st April. The sooner the appeal decision is announced, the sooner we can repair the holes the government has created in such a lucrative industry. It’s a shame it’s had to come to this, but the good guy always wins in the end don’t they?

Meanwhile: At least we've got support from our MP Henry Smith:

(Image above was in reply to email sent from company director Carl Bennett regarding FIT support.)

disneycastle - Imagesource@thecontaminated.com

Categories: government, feed-in-tariff

Solar PV Review Judicial Update

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 5th January 2012

The recent feed in tariff review, published in October 2011, announced expected yet sudden cuts due to commence in the early days of December 2011. The cuts that were announced saw the solar PV incentive halve from 43.3p p/kwh to 21p/kwh for installations carried out on and after the 12 December 2011.  This sudden cut was ruled unlawful by Mr Justice Mitting in the consualtion on 12th December 2011 and he set a deadline of 4th January 2012 for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to seek permission to appeal. In the meantime the cut-off date of 12th December was pushed back to the 1st April 2012 so consumers could adopt the higher rate until this ruling was appealed.

Yesterday afternoon the government announced that they filed this request to appeal and outlined their grounds for appeal in a move to help speed up the legal process.

Should the government win this appeal, the rates will immediately drop back down to 21p/kwh and those consumers who were able to seek the 43.3p/kwh after the 12th December 211 cut-off date will have their incentives cut. This will not affect consumers who had PV installed before 12th December 2011 as their incentives will be protected by contract for up to 25 years.

If the government does not win this appeal then the 43.3p/kwh will remain until the parliamentary process has concluded which is actually expected to be 1st April 2012 or earlier.

Whilst most disagree with the way in which the government handled the cuts with special reference to the time period given to installers and the like to complete installations, it seems this brief relief period until (hopefully) 1st April 2012 will help to put consumer trust back into the industry and be some sort of compensation to consumer and installation companies who were and could have been harmed by the ‘unlawful’ cuts.

Either way it worth getting your PV installed asap as not only will incentive continue to drop as all do, but it may be worth seeking the 43.3p/kwh while you can. As for installers, be prepared for a busy few months as solar PV installation is still a very lucrative and modern money earner.

We have a range of solar PV courses available for those wishing to take advantage of the predicted demand.


Categories: solar pv, feed-in-tariff

Consider A Career In The Electrical Industry

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 3rd January 2012

New Year’s Eve is always a time to reflect on the past years events whilst creating new resolutions to implement in the New Year ahead.

The New Year always seems the perfect time to enforce change and embrace it so if you’re considering a career change in 2012, why not consider a career in electrics? It’s a lucrative career which can lead you to all sorts of jobs.



I was once told by a customer that he was so glad he was taking electrical courses as everything these days is electric; your phone, your laptop, your TV and so on and he’s right. They’re not making oil fired TV’s last time I looked and wherever you find a light switch, a power point, or a light bulb whether this be at work, at home or whilst you’re watching Coldplay on their stadium tour, an electrician was required to install them. There is so many opportunities open to the practising electrician it just depends where your interest may lie as to what path is right for you.

Electricians mainly specialise in the wiring of building structures both domestic and commercial however may also specialise to wire ships, airplanes and other mobile platforms. Electricians can also find work in the film industry as they are required for safety and to help produce lists of required equipment and configure and design installations for the lighting & production directors. Electricians are also required on music tours as they need to assist and commission set designs and lighting configurations as well as making sure that amount of light is both safe for the audience as well as the artist. So which ever route you’d like to take a job like this, you’re bound to find the correct role for you.

The true diversity of these job roles is also a major benefit to the career; once you qualify you will find that your skills are transferable across all of the aforementioned platforms. There is also an added benefit of having your qualifications recognised internationally should you choose to take a City & Guilds course. City & Guilds electrical courses are widely respected and undertaken by all industry professionals and you will find that most if not all electrical trainers, such as Trade Skills 4U, host a wide range for you to choose from. Wherever there is electricity you will find an electrician which is why is makes for such a great career choice in times like these as they have an added bonus of being recession proof.

Whatever your chosen New Year’s resolutions are, whether are encompass losing weight, getting fit, being better with money, seeing family & friends more or learning something new. The latter is where we come in. We are the UK’s number 1 City & Guilds electrical qualification provider which is an achievement we’ve fought hard to get and maintain. Last year we delivered just fewer than 15,000 exams to over 4000 candidates who were looking to simply learn something new by up-skilling or retraining.


So if being an electrician, domestic installer or electrical apprentice sounds good to you, pick up the phone and give us a call. We can help give you advice about some of the qualifications we offer and help you decide whether this is the right career choice for you. Call us today on 01293 529777.

Be proud of what you do, consider a career in electrics and train with Trade Skills 4U.


Categories: electrical training