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The UK feed-in-tariff announcement has generated a lot of interest in solar energy for homeowners. But what of the interest for organisations such as farms, businesses or local communities?

Some in the press have criticised the government’s proposed feed in tariff plans because they do not offer specific incentives to businesses as well as private individuals.

I would argue that the feed in tariff as it stands applies equally well to enterprises as it does homeowners. Businesses are often able to think longer term about investments. The incentives for installations above 50kW are still attractive for commercial roofspaces, especially if businesses use the electricity they generate for themselves, meaning that installing solar would be a prudent investment to have on a balance sheet. That is not to mention the kudos that comes with being a net exporter of green electricity.

In Germany the commercial rooftop segment of the market is the largest by volume, and with a feed in tariff pricing that now looks rather similar to the UK’s. We may therefore expect that companies start to explore using their roof space for PV. In fact if they haven’t thought of it yet, someone else will soon be approaching them with an offer.

That’s not to say the governments plans are flawless however. The UK is still pitifully behind the rest of Europe when it comes to renewable energy generation and particularly microgeneration.

Still lurking in government policy the ridiculously low target of 2 percent of energy coming from microgeneration by 2020. This is incomprehensible given that Germany is already at 4 percent from solar and other countries like Denmark with biomass gain nearly 40 percent from microgen. Surely this target must be revised!

Speaking as a professional in the global solar industry, the new UK feed in tariff has put us on the radar (a bit). Rather than smirking when I mention the potential for solar in the UK, my colleagues are now starting to take some interest…

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