Red tape is strangling a scheme designed to encourage millions of families to generate their own green electricity with home mounted solar panels, wind turbines and heat pumps, according to the United Kingdom’s largest manufacture of central heating equipment.
Households in Britain can potentially collect a fixed fee up to 41p (pence) a kilowatt hour for electricity generated from roof top solar panels, and up to 34.5p from home mounted windmills.
The scheme which seeks to kick-start a boom in so called microgeneration, is being stymied by a chronic shortage of certified engineers who must fit the equipment for consumers to qualify for the payments.
“To qualify as an installer, it’s expensive, onerous and full of red tape” said Neil Schofield, head of sustainable development for Worchester Bosch, which controls 28 percent of Britain’s boiler market and is a big supplier of solar panels and air and ground source heat pumps.
A company or individual wishing to become a qualified fitter of solar thermal, solar PV, wind turbine and biomass boiler equipment could expect to pay about 3,200 British Pounds a year, a figure that does not include the time required to prepare detailed documentation need to apply.
“It is hellishly complicated and expensive,” said Mr. Schofield said. “You have to have a customer complaints procedure, health and safety documentation. For a one-man plumbing operation, they are just not interested.