Posts tagged with: FITs

Following the release of the Government’s response to the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) consultation and the news that it has just launched a consultation on the budget management and environmental sustainability of the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), Tom Vosper, Head of Climate Consulting, says:

“The Government has clearly listened to feedback, especially in regards to support for the community sector. However it’s clear from its comments that the Government understands there are issues still to be dealt with, primarily the difficulty faced in researching and developing projects due to the associated costs. Removing the requirement for achieving an EPC level D or above will certainly help community organisations to progress worthwhile projects with more certainty.

“Despite the increased level of administration, we also welcome the preliminary accreditation system as it will give confidence to project developers. However as this preliminary accreditation system will mainly benefit larger individual systems, it won’t entirely reverse the slow-down in the PV market because a large amount of the investment in this sector has come in the form of “funds” for multiple installations rather than one-off projects.

“We believe some of the available heat technologies would benefit from a similar preliminary accreditation system, and would like to see one introduced for the non-domestic RHI.”

  • Reduced tariffs for over-50kW solar
  • Increased support for farm-scale anaerobic digestion

Proposals to reduce the financial support available to larger scale solar-produced electricity have been published by the Government today as part of plans to protect financial support for homes, communities and small businesses.

The consultation follows the launch in February of a fast-track review into how the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) work for solar photovoltaic (PV) over 50 kW after evidence showing that there could already be 169 MW of large scale solar capacity in the planning system – equivalent to funding solar panels on the roofs of around 50,000 homes if tariffs are left unchanged.

Such projects could potentially soak up the subsidy that would otherwise go to smaller renewable schemes or other technologies such as wind, hydro and anaerobic digestion.

Projections at the start of the scheme had shown no large scale solar under the FITs was expected until at least 2013.

Today’s consultation also covers proposals to provide added support to farm-scale anaerobic digestion given the disappointing uptake of such technologies to date.

Greg Barker, Climate Change Minister said:

“Our cash for green electricity scheme is a great way to reward homes, communities and small businesses that produce their own renewable power.

“I’m committed to an ambitious roll out of microgeneration technologies as part of the Coalition’s green vision of a much more decentralised energy economy.

“I want to make sure that we capture the benefits of fast falling costs in solar technology to allow even more homes to benefit from feed in tariffs, rather than see that money go in bumper profits to a small number of big investors.

“These proposals aim to rebalance the scheme and put a stop to the threat of larger-scale solar soaking up the cash. The FITs scheme was never designed to be a profit generator for big business and financiers.

“Britain’s solar industry is a vital part of our renewables future and our growing green economy. The new tariff rates we’re putting forward today for consultation will provide a level of support for all solar PV and ensure a sustained growth path for industry.

“Taking a pro-active approach to changing tariffs will allow us to avoid the boom-and-bust approach we have seen in other countries and enable us to support more homes and community schemes, and a wider range of technologies such as wind, hydro and anaerobic digestion.”

As solar PV technology has developed, its costs have reduced, and are now believed to be around 30% lower than originally projected. This means the technology does not need as much support to be competitive.

The Government is therefore proposing reducing the support for all new PV installations larger than microgeneration size (50kW) and stand alone installations. The new proposed rates are:

  • 19p/kWh for 50kW to 150kW
  • 15p/kWh for 150kW to 250kW
  • 8.5p/kWh for 250kW to 5MW and stand-alone installations

These compare with the tariffs that would otherwise apply from 1 April of:

  • 32.9p/kWh for 10kw to 100kw
  • 30.7/kWh for 100kw to 5MW and stand-alone installations

Such changes are in line with amendments made to similar schemes in Europe where in Germany, France and Spain tariffs for PV have been reduced sharply over the past year.

Alongside the fast-track review of solar, a short study has also been undertaken into the lack of uptake of FITs for farm-scale anaerobic digestion. The study suggests that the tariff for this technology is not high enough to make such schemes worthwhile. The proposed new tariffs are:

  • 14p/kWh for AD installations with a total installed capacity of up to 250 kW
  • 13p/kWh for AD installations with a total installed capacity of between 250 kW and 500 kW

These compare with the tariffs that would otherwise apply from 1 April of 12.1p/kWh for AD up to 500 kW.

Government policy is specifically to deliver an increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion, not to promote energy crops, particularly where these are grown to the exclusion of food producing crops. DECC is talking to Defra and others about the best way to implement controls to make sure this does not happen.

The Government will not act retrospectively and any changes to generation tariffs implemented as a result of the review will only affect new entrants into the FITs scheme. Installations which are already accredited for FITs will not be affected. Solar PV installations less than 50kW are not affected by this fast track review.

These changes are proposed to be implemented in advance of the comprehensive review of FITs, which is currently underway and will look at all aspects of the scheme.


“ believe the government has made a mistake in reducing their support of the U.K’s solar industry. Solar farms would have brought the country closer to its renewable energy targets much faster and more cheaply than roof top solar alone” has received hundreds of enquiries asking how the coalition government’s Spending Review will impact on feed-in tariffs. Feed-in tariffs, in the UK known as the Clean Energy Cash Back scheme were introduced as a way of incentivising investment in green energy through the payment of fixed, premium rates for energy generated from small scale renewable projects. Most of the enquiries coming through this website have focused specifically on how the Spending Review will affect UK solar projects so we will seek to answer some of the most popular queries.

How will the Spending Review affect Feed-in Tariffs?

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has stated that the tariffs will now be focused on the most cost-effective technologies and fortunately, this includes solar pv. The DECC has said,

“Feed-in tariffs will be refocused on the most cost-effective technologies saving £40m in 2014-15. The changes will be implemented at the first scheduled review of tariffs [in 2012, to kick in 2013] unless higher than expected deployment requires an early review.”

While rates for solar projects will remain unchanged, the government has announced that changes could be made in the 2012 review which could see the tariff cut by 10 per cent in 2014 and 2015. Rates paid by the tariff could be effected by what the DECC have termed a ‘Trigger Point’ where a figure for solar installation is met, reducing the tariff payments.

When will the Trigger Point take affect?

No announcement has been made as yet on the Trigger Point criteria but is likely to revolve around something like installed capacity or applications to install. We will not hear anything until 2012 at which point the government will have to revisit the legislation because currently there is no mention of trigger points in the tariff scheme.

When is the best time to install?

Perhaps one of the most common questions coming to us through our website is the question of the best time to install solar pv panels in order to start taking advantage of the feed-in tariffs. Our answer is always, right away! As it currently stands, you will be able to take advantage of rates of 41.3p until 2012 for units of energy generated from your solar panels. If, however there is a massive take up in solar installation within the next 2 years, the government may decide to reduce the tariff for future installations.

How will any changes affect people who have already installed?

It won’t. Contracts are fixed meaning that anyone who signs up for a tariff rate of 41.3p for units of energy generated can expect those payments for the next 25 years. along with a number of environmental groups are happy with the way solar pv projects are safeguarded amongst the government’s drastic spending review. Now is certainly the time to take advantage of high tariff rates and generate revenue for your household for the next quarter of a century.

Following on from the various criticisms of the government’s recently announced Clean Energy Cash Back System, comes the announcement of the closure of phase two of the Low Carbon Building Program for solar installations in the UK.

The news is a blow to the industry as it will leave a crucial funding gap until the feed-in tariff comes into operation in April 2010. The move which has been made because of what the government calls ‘unprecedented demand’ seems to have become a victim of its own success.

Initially the government had earmarked £18 million of grants for solar PV installations for public sector buildings such as schools, hospitals and housing installations however it is feared that this cessation of the grant system will kill the solar PV industry in its tracks with the Clean Energy Cash back system still months away.

It is generally believed by industry insiders that the gap left by the closure of the low carbon program comes at an extremely bad time especially with regards to the general economic climate and Britain’s desire to become a real global player in solar PV. Speaking as general manager of UK solar firm, Sharp Solar, Andrew Lee commented that,

“The government’s decision to close the Low Carbon Building Programme Phase 2 is one that threatens to kill the UKs PV industry. At a time when the UK should be building-up interest and support ahead of the introduction of a UK Feed in Tariff next year, the decision to end the LCBP grant procedure because of too much demand is just another unnecessary hiatus in support.


“PV continues to be overlooked as the government conducts a stop start approach to adopting renewable energy. While we understand that PV technology is part of a wider renewable mix – if every building in the UK had a solar panel on its roof, there would be no need for any other energy source.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has come under the fiercest criticism since the dual release of the Clean Energy tariff details and now the low carbon program closure news. Some industry observers have commented that the DECC’s hand is being forced by a strong anti-solar lobby currently operating within Westminster and that this news is a hiatus possibly designed to appease the lobby headed by the utility companies.

Defending criticism of the government, a spokesman for the DECC stated,

“It’s very encouraging that there’s been an unprecedented demand for this technology but we have to be fair to all renewable technologies. We’ve put £18 million into the solar PV ‘pot’ since April which is more than the industry asked us for, so it’s really an unprecedented demand. FITs that come in next April will provide future incentive for solar PV projects.”