The British Solar Panel Rip Off

George Monbiot explains why the British governments scheme to reward people for putting solar panels and micro turbines on their roofs is a complete farce:

While the electricity you might generate from large wind turbines

and hydro plants will earn you 4.5p per kilowatt hour, mini wind

turbines get 34p, and solar panels 41p. In other words, the government

acknowledges that micro wind and solar PV in the UK are between seven

and nine times less cost-effective than the alternatives.


expects this scheme to save 7m tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020.

Assuming – generously – that the rate of installation keeps

accelerating, this suggests a saving of about 20m tonnes of CO2 by 2030. The estimated price by then is £8.6bn. This means it will cost about £430 to save one tonne of CO2.

Last year the consultancy company McKinsey published a table of cost comparisons. It found that you could save a tonne of CO2

for £3 by investing in geothermal energy, or for £8 by building a

nuclear power plant. Insulating commercial buildings costs nothing; in

fact it saves £60 for every tonne of CO2 you reduce;

replacing incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs saves £80 per tonne. The

government predicts that the tradeable value of the carbon saved by its

£8.6bn scheme will be £420m. That’s some return on investment.

Essentially, this is another method of transferring money from the poor to the rich. The government will be paying lots of middle class people to put almost pointless gimmicks on their houses in exchange for precious money that could be spent far more wisely (ie. for real energy saving technology, schools, roads etc). Ridiculous.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.