Are we really going to let ourselves be duped into this solar panel rip-off?


George Monbiot, Monday 1 March 2010 20.00 GMT
Plans for the grid feed-in tariff suggest we live in southern California. And at £8.6bn, this is a pricey conceit with little benefit

Those who hate environmentalism have spent years looking for the definitive example of a great green rip-off. Finally it arrives, and nobody notices. The government is about to shift £8.6bn from the poor to the middle classes. It expects a loss on this scheme of £8.2bn, or 95%. Yet the media is silent. The opposition urges only that the scam should be expanded.

On 1 April the government introduces its feed-in tariffs. These oblige electricity companies to pay people for the power they produce at home. The money will come from their customers in the form of higher bills. It would make sense, if we didn’t know that the technologies the scheme will reward are comically inefficient.

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