Posts tagged with: DECC

After weeks of anticipation the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has today published the results of the latest solar feed-in tariff consultation. From August 1 the new rate for 4kW systems will be 16p/kWh, set in line with current installation figures.

With installed prices now more than 50 percent lower than in April 2010 when the FiT was first introduced, the latest tariffs are aimed at providing the same returns as originally set out.

Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon the Minister of State, Greg Barker announced a range of alterations to the existing feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme. The UK solar industry will now benefit from a less complex degression management model, which includes smaller quarterly degressions linked to market deployment. This differs from the existing system, which offers an automatic degression.

As expected the new tariffs [seen below] will go ahead from August 1, one month later than originally planned. After noting lower-than-expected installation rates the Department decided to hold off on cutting the tariff until the market begins to pick up.

Band (kW) Standard generation tariff (p/kWh) Multi-installation tariff (p/kWh) Lower tariff (if energy efficiency requirement not met) (p/kWh)
•4kW (new build) 16.0 14.4 7.1
•4kW (retrofit) 16.0 14.4 7.1
>4-10kW 14.5 13.05 7.1
>10-50kW 13.5 12.15 7.1
>50-100kW 11.5 10.35 7.1
>100-150kW 11.5 10.35 7.1
>150-250kW 11.0 9.9 7.1
>250kW-5MW 7.1 N/A N/A
stand-alone 7.1 N/A N/A

The tariff for a domestic solar installation will now be 16p/kWh, down from 21p, and will be set to decrease on a three-month basis by 3.5 percent thereafter. These degressions are expected to be delayed if the market slows down. Uptake will be viewed in three different bands (domestic (size 0-10kW), small commercial (10-50kW) and large commercial (above 50kW and standalone installations). Quarterly reductions will be determined within those bands.

The new tariffs, which will now be paid over 20 years instead of 25 years, should give a return on investment (ROIs) of over 6 percent for most typical, well-sited installations, and up to 8 percent for the larger bands.

Investor income will also be boosted by the increase in the export tariff, which will increase to 4.5p from 3.1p. This will be particularly beneficial for large-scale solar investors, who will be able to add the export tariff to the feed-in tariff in order to generate a reasonable return on investment. All tariffs will continue to be index-linked in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI).

DECC also revealed that organisations with more than 25 solar PV installations will get 90 percent of the standard applicable tariff, increased from the 80 percent proposed in February. This increase reflects new evidence heard on costs involved for these projects.

Although reduced, the new rates are aimed at kick-starting the UK solar market, with an aim of installation at least 800MW in 2012/13. In fact, DECC expects that these rates to provide the resources for the UK to achieve 800MWp to 1,000MWp each year to 2015, with an extended ambition for 22GW for 2020. These figures account for solar capacity to be installed in each year than the original FiT budget offered over five years, reflecting the strong growth the industry achieved in 2011.

These figures do not include larger projects that are now able to use two ROCs; it is suggested there could be a further 300-600MWp installed under this mechanism before April 2013.

“Today starts a new and exciting chapter for the solar industry. The sector has been through a difficult time, adjusting to the reality of sharply falling costs, but the reforms we are introducing today provide a strong, sustainable foundation for growth for the solar sector,” Barker commented.

“We can now look with confidence to a future for solar which will see it go from a small cottage industry, anticipated under the previous scheme, to playing a significant part in Britain’s clean energy economy.

“I want to send a very clear message today. UK solar continues to be an attractive proposition for many consumers considering microgeneration technologies and that having placed the subsidy support for this technology on a long-term, sustainable footing, industry can plan for growth with confidence.”

Alan Aldridge, Chairman of the Solar Trade Association said: “We broadly welcome many of the Government’s decisions for how solar PV will be treated in the FITs scheme and wholeheartedly welcome the inclusion of Solar in DECC’s updated Renewables Roadmap; this should reassure consumers and solar companies alike that the Government recognises and stands behind a major role for the solar industry.

“Despite the currently slow market, the industry can have some confidence that the new Tariffs are tight but workable. Householders should be reassured the new Tariffs will provide more attractive returns than can be found elsewhere today. The STA is now keen to work with Government to get this positive message out.”

The Minister also announced plans brought forward by Cornwall Council and the Building Research Establishment to set up a National Solar Centre in Cornwall.

Cllr Alec Robertson, Leader of Cornwall Council said: “The FiTs scheme allowed many people across Cornwall to learn about renewable energy, especially solar power, and Cornwall would welcome the establishment of a new National Solar Centre that  will be at the heart of the bright future for PV in the UK. We’re pleased that DECC has announced changes that improve the predictability for the FiTs scheme”

Although many areas of today’s news will inject an element of confidence into the UK solar market there are still some areas that are expected to cause concern. There is a fear that the August 1 cuts could continue to stall uptake, and that DECC has not accounted for this issue fully within the consultation.


Originally posted on Solar Power Portal.

Welcoming an announcement by Energy Minister Greg Barker today (Thursday 24 May 2012) setting out a clear plan for solar power to 2020, Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

“After a year and a half of crippling uncertainty, the sun is starting to shine again on the solar industry.

“Greg Barker’s 2020 vision will allow solar firms to get back on their feet, protect jobs and plan for the future – but to avoid more fiascos any mechanism for setting subsidy payments must be managed independently of Government.

“The Energy Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create jobs and tackle high fuel bills by switching our electricity supplies to clean British energy – but current plans will leave the nation hooked on costly gas and risky nuclear power.

“Developing the nation’s huge renewable energy potential will help drive us out of recession – the Government must make it easier for communities, schools and hospitals to plug into clean power.”

This week, Friends of the Earth and the Federation of Small Businesses wrote to Energy Secretary Ed Davey, urging him to end the uncertainty over the feed-in tariff that is hampering the solar industry, and to set out a clear plan to 2020 that enables the sector to grow steadily and with confidence.



Notes to editors:

1.    The letter to Energy Secretary Ed Davey from Friends of the Earth and the Federation of Small Businesses is available at:

2.    In February 2012 Friends of the Earth welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new ambition to deliver 22GW by 2020 through solar power – saying it was a first step towards putting the industry on a stable footing and recognising its significant potential.
3.    Earlier this year Friends of the Earth won a legal challenge against the Government’s premature cuts to solar feed in tariffs, which pulled the rug from under the solar sector and led to around 6,000 job losses.

4.    Friends of the Earth’s Clean British Energy campaign is urging the Government to listen to the public and transform our broken energy system by developing clean and affordable power from our wind, sun and water – backed by 85 per cent of the public. For too long the Big Six energy companies have locked Britain into importing costly gas and coal – causing our fuel bills to rocket. Backing renewable power and cutting energy waste will stabilise fuel bills and create new jobs. To find out more visit:

The Court of Appeal today (Wednesday 25 January 2012) unanimously rejected Government attempts to overturn last month’s High Court ruling that its plans to rush through sudden cuts to solar tariff payments are illegal.

The Government is now seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Friends of the Earth says the move will create yet more uncertainty for solar firms and after two courts have ruled their move illegal is urging Ministers to concentrate on safeguarding the industry rather than wasting more time and money on further appeals.

The High Court ruled shortly before Christmas that Government plans to cut payments for any solar scheme completed after 12 December – 11 days before the official consultation closed – were unlawful. The judgement followed legal challenges brought by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms, Solarcentury and HomeSun, last month.

Today’s judgement will prevent Ministers rushing through cuts to feed-in tariff payments in future, restoring some confidence to the UK’s clean energy industry. But Friends of the Earth warns that unless Ministers change other parts of their solar subsidy proposals, up to 29,000 jobs could be lost.

Friends of the Earth is urging Ministers to find more money – paid for from tax payments the industry generates – to safeguard the long-term stability of the solar industry. The environmental campaigning charity is also calling for crucial amendments to proposed Government solar payment changes, including re-examining over-strict energy efficiency rules that will prevent 90 per cent of houses from claiming solar subsidies.

Today’s ruling means that, subject to any further appeal to the Supreme Court, solar tariff payments will remain at 43.3p (p/kWh) until 3 March 2012 when – following Government moves last week – they will fall to 21 pence.

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

“This landmark judgement confirms that devastating Government plans to rush through cuts to solar payments are illegal – and will prevent Ministers from causing industry chaos with similar cuts in future.

“The Government must now take steps to safeguard the UK’s solar industry and the 29,000 jobs still facing the chop.

“Ministers must abandon plans to tighten the screw on which homes qualify for solar payments – and use the massive tax revenues generated by solar to protect the industry.

“Helping more people to plug into clean British energy will help protect cash-strapped households from soaring fuel bills.”

Click here to read the full article

With two significant reductions in the feed-in tariffs for commercial systems taking place within the last twelve months, it’s understandable that the UK industry is taking stock of what has occurred. It’s obvious now that the government incentives introduced for commercial solar power were too generous to sustain. It’s also becoming increasingly evident that the Department of Energy and Climate Change(DECC)  will use its power to swiftly alter government incentives when they deem necessary. What needs to be contemplated forwards from this is that with an experienced and industry conscious awareness commercial solar power can still establish viability in the UK. This article will explain why.

Utilising the economies of scale and potentially significant savings that companies and business owners can make on their energy usage, the commercial market holds a great deal of potential for investors. There are nuances to consider however, and the handling of the feed-in tariff incentives by the UK Government has not added to the security of the prospect for many people. This does not mean that potential projects have become more risk than their worth, it simply means that project management must protect investments using the lessons of the past and innovations of the future to minimise risk and maximise gain. Sound like a familiar set of circumstances for most kinds of investment? It is, so let’s analyse this in greater detail.

The Current State of Commercial Solar Incentives

Feed-in Tariffs

All information provided in this article is based on the proposed changes to the feed-in tariff, outlined on the DECC website here.

There are two purely financial benefits that arise from the feed-in tariffs.

1. The ‘Generation Tariff’ is paid for every kWh generated by an eligible system whether it is used on site or exported to the grid. The proposed new rates are:

  • Tariff for >4-10kW PV installs = 16.8p/kWh (in year one*)
  • Tariff for >10-50kW PV installs = 15.2p/kWh*
  • Tariff for >50kW – 150kW = 12.9p/kWh*
  • Tariff for >150kW – 250kW = 12.9p/kWh*
  • Tariff for >250kW – 5MW = 8.5p/kWh*

*This rate will only apply for the first year of the systems operation. It will then increase based on the Retail Price Index’s (RPI) inflation over it’s 25 year lifespan.

2. The second aspect is the ‘Export tariff’, and this remains unchanged from the DECC proposals. It is a flat rate of 3 pence per kWh generated from an eligible system, unused on site and sent onto the grid.

Energy Savings

The third benefit that comes directly from generating solar energy from a system concerns the energy usage and bills on site. Earnings can be significant, and are established when property owners compare the new tariff rates with current bills. The rise of energy prices make this aspect of clear benefit, and just as importantly more effective the sooner the installation is carried out.

The ‘Energy Bill Savings’ are calculations on what the cost would have been to buy a kWh from the grid when it is instead generated from the solar power system and used on site. More complicated to calculate because it relies upon an analysis of the tariff times and rates of the properties energy bills, a Solar Selections Commercial Broker is trained to assist customers with establishing these figures and their influence on rates of return.

There are also a number of environmental, corporate image and sustainability benefits that are associated. Solar Selections Commercial designs projects that take into account these goals and provides suggestions for how to maximise their impact on the installation. It’s case specific, and again best discussed with your project managing broker.

Primary Areas of Development and Potential


The reality of many investment opportunities is that they are often capitalised upon during unexpected times. So long as the commodity in question is deemed to be a) increasing in value, b) possessive of a rare quality and c) stable, investment will find it and want to share in the profits. Commercial solar power is an investment in renewable energy, and all three aspects are most definitely upheld by this commodity. Renewable energy is considered a viable investment in the world today, and this is upheld despite the tariff changes in the UK.

For these reasons, private investment is expected to come into focus for the commercial market here moving into 2012. Through conglomerates and syndicates lines of capital are being opened up across the UK for these projects, through firms such as Solar Selections. These lines of capital will come into play as soon as the appropriate figures regarding returns on investment are established. So let’s look at some ideas on how this can happen.


First of all, the price per watt of solar components needs to continue to be driven down. In the UK we have excellent prices considering our almost complete lack of onshore manufacturing and assembly plants, but more can be done. One stigma that immediately needs to be overcome is the focus towards brand name solar products, especially on panels. Distributors and importers alike need to develop more robust relationships with the largest manufacturers in the world such as Suntech, Trina, JA Solar, Yingli and First Solar and educate their customers on the technical differences and advantages on these modules. Moreover, the public need to be educated on the differences between panel brands in a more objective manner.

Secondly, finance when sourced for large scale solar installations needs to become more comprehensively advantageous to business. Zero upfront capital outlay, tax benefits and perpetually positive cash flow positions are a small number of unique approaches as yet unexplored by the mainstream finance market; see our full article for further details. Solar Selections Commercial is in the process of introducing an exclusive package currently operating in our other countries for our clients that addresses these points and many more benefits. We encourage interested parties to contact our commercial management team for further information.

Finally, there are the more generalised energy efficiency and sustainability overhaul approaches to commercial properties that are to be more widely and professionally used. This involves considering a complete energy efficiency upgrade plan for a property with solar energy merely one aspect among a wide range of implementations to be considered. By way of example this may include installing energy efficient/motion activated lighting and monitors, condensing CPU and modem hardware into micro-managed energy efficient hardware and software, advanced telecommunication and video link software to curb travel and conference logistic costs and simpler measures such as anti-draft stoppers under doors or power point energy savers. Considering the DECC’s proposals regarding implementation of Environmental Performance Certificates (EPC) into eligibility for the solar feed-in tariffs, such practices may indeed become necessary for solar projects with the coming of 2012.

EPC’s are essentially a summary of a property’s energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions. They are used as ratings for all properties bought, sold or rented in the UK. The DECC’s suggestions have centred around only allowing properties with certain minimum EPC ratings to be eligible for solar FiT’s, effectively closing off the tariffs to properties judged too inefficient.

Once again, Solar Selections will be at the forefront of this approach offering options from our network of energy management consultancy firms to our clients that comprehensively address energy efficiency and emission standards.


A midst the controversy and decisive nature of the UK government’s cuts to the solar feed-in tariffs last year, the truth of the matter is that it has been the most successful 12 months in the solar industry’s history. The Commercial solar industry has experienced only a glimpse of it’s true potential, and whilst it is hard for some installers and potential investors to see right now, the sector has its best years ahead of it. By developing and utilising proven approaches to aspects such as finance, energy use reduction and energy efficiency, feasibility will be re-established and become accessible to many thousands of business owners and investors. The international examples are there for all to see, and with the exciting development of prospects such as our Operational Lease arrangement, Solar Selections will be at the helm of the budding commercial solar industry of 2012 and beyond.

Written by Jarrah Harburn

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