Thursday, April 19, 2012

UK Solar Update - The BOHICA Syndrome Strikes Again

The U.K. installed 4.6 MW in the first week of March. This installation rate was down sharply from nearly 100 MW in the previous week. Industry watchers sweated and fretted over these disappointing results. The second week of March was hardly better at 5.8 MW - this led to more disappointment and wailing. The third week of March surprised on the upside with 15 MW. The final week of March came in at an almost astounding 32 MW - an installation rate that works out to a 1.5 GW per year, fully double the installations in 2011. Industry watchers started to think the FiT cuts may work out after all. Despite the exciting progress of March, April has thrown the market back in the doldrums with weekly installs of 1.2 and 1.7 MW in the first two weeks. The pessimists are back to their all is lost position. They claim these low installation rates prove the new FiT is rotten. 60% appear to think the new rates aren't only rotten, they're murderous.  

Murderous eh? Let's take a step back and take few deep breaths The big thing that changed between March and April was the introduction of a new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) requirement. This new requirement is clearly a bottleneck. What do you do about it? Whine and stomp? How about fix it. Get guys out in the field who by eyeball can tell if a home is EPC compliant. Get these guys to train other guys. Think of the EPC certification process as another part of the supply chain that you need to develop. You grow this part of the supply chain by farming the easiest homes first. Eventually the EPC compliant pipeline will balance with the installation demand and things will continue trucking along. This should all be relatively obvious. 

There is far too much whining in the solar press these days. People who may be interested in installing a system hear some of this whining and immediately think that the economics don't work anymore. This is not true at all. Everywhere you look the new FiT rates remain very generous. The message from the industry should be a loud and clear, Come on down! The price is right! Let's do some business!

The U.K.'s new FiT design may not have saved every last business model but it saved the best models. The losers should shut up, get new business models and get back to business.

Sensei Say: If at first you don't succeed don't be sad bohican clown. Keep trying. Someday you can be happy light clown.

SEE: The BOHICA syndrome: a symptom of cynicism towards change initiatives?
FOLLOW UP: UK Solar Industry Associations Maintain Solar PV Is Still Viable

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