PV panels are not efficient enough to justify investment, says chief executive of RWN npower

Efforts to encourage homeowners to fit photovoltaic panels are a waste of government money according to one of the UK’s top energy bosses.

Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE npower, told The Times that the amount of energy generated was too small to justify government subsidies.

He said much of energy generated by the panels is wasted through heat loss when it feeds back into the national grid and recommended households install solar panels which heat water instead.

Surplus power generated by solar panels in homes and businesses is sold back to the national grid at a subsidised rate, but the government is expected to slash this rate in the coming days.

The cut is driven by unexpected popularity of the scheme which has seen three times the number of households expected to take-up the scheme installing the panels.

The subsidies are paid for by a flat charge on everyone’s energy bills leading Beckers to tell The Times it was simply redistributing money to the rich who could afford to install the panels and reap the rewards for their surplus power, while poorer households can’t.