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English Environmentalist Makes Case Against Solar Feed-in Tariff

Are we really going to let ourselves be duped by this solar panel rip off? The environmentalist George Monbiot asked that very question in an...


Are we really going to let ourselves be duped by this solar panel rip off? The environmentalist George Monbiot asked that very question in an article for The Guardian this past Monday. On April 1, 2010, the United Kingdom will launch a renewable energy feed-in tariff, which will pay homeowners who install solar panels and other renewable energy sources. The tariff has faced criticism from many, like Monbiot, who, according to Treehugger, takes issue with both the efficiency of solar power in England and the cost of implementation. He writes:
Solar PV is a great technology--if you live in southern California. But the further from the equator you travel, the less sense it makes. It's not just that the amount of power PV panels produce at this latitude is risible, they also produce it at the wrong time. In hot countries, where air conditioning guzzles electricity, peak demand coincides with peak solar radiation. In the UK, peak demand takes place between 5pm and 7pm on winter evenings. Do I need to spell out the implications?
In response to Monbiot's forthright criticism, Solar Century founder and solar proponent Jeremy Leggett used The Guardian to issue a counter-argument, entitled "Solar Panels are Not Fashion Accessories." Treehugger has more on Leggett's opinion, which basically argues, not surprisingly, for the solar energy tariff. Whose side are you taking in this he-said-he-said battle?Photo via Treehugger
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