Posts tagged with: solar investment

The government has lost its high court appeal over its plan to cut subsidies for solar panels on homes.

The appeal was against a High Court ruling blocking government plans to make large reductions to payments made to households with solar panels.

It would have hit customers who installed panels after 12 December.

Under the feed-in tariffs programme, people in Britain with solar panels are paid for the electricity they generate. The government tried to reduce them prior to the results of the consultation being released. The High Court agreed with opponents that this was legally flawed.

The new tariff of 21p per kilowatt-hour, down from the current 43p, had been expected to come into effect from 1 April, but in October the government said it would be paid to anyone who installed their solar panels after 12 December.

Upholding that ruling, the Supreme Court said the government’s appeal “does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court at this time”.

The government said the court’s decision drew a line under the case.

“We will now focus all our efforts on ensuring the future stability and cost effectiveness of solar and other microgeneration technologies for the many, not the few,” said Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

Here at we applaud the High Courts judgment and hope it encourages fairer and better planned legislation from the government In the future when amending renewable energy policy.

On a rooftop in Suffolk there now sits a vast 500KW solar panel project which, much to the pleasure of the solar installation firm involved Going Solar and client, Debach Enterprises has been completed in advance of the August cut-off date for the current feed-in tariff rates. For projects completed after that date, tariff rates will be reduced as part of controversial reductions in the money paid out as part of the scheme. The £1.2m project would have fallen foul of the cutbacks in the tariff as it is over the 50KW threshold putting it in the large scale project bracket.

The 2,200 solar panel project completed by Going Solar will generate up to 440,000kw hours of electricity every year, enough to power the warehouse and provide a surplus to the national grid which as well as being enough energy to power 100 homes, will generate a healthy revenue stream via the tariff pay outs. The government’s cuts in the feed-in tariff come as they try to move the emphasis away from large scale solar farms and into smaller scale roof mounted solar projects. Going Solar Director Charles Houston believes that not all rooftop schemes should face the cuts and that size should not necessarily be a factor in precluding them from the tariff scheme.

“The consultation has only just been completed and we are arguing there is a case for treating rooftop installations differently. The government has a valid point trying to address large solar farms, but with rooftop installations the energy is often used on site and you are only using dead space that is up on a roof. If a business wants to cut its carbon by using that space then it should be encouraged to do so.”

Going Solar has announced that they will be focusing on solar thermal projects in the future with Houston going onto explain that,

“The Renewable Heat Incentive is about to make solar thermal collectors very attractive to schools, hotels and other sites with high water demand, while there is a real window of opportunity for 50kW solar installations. The feed-in tariff went up in April as it is linked to inflation and at the same time solar panel prices have come down. There is now an opportunity for businesses installing mid-sized projects to complete installations before the long track review of feed-in tariff likely recommends further cuts to come into effect from 31 March next year”.

With the impending contraction of the solar feed-in tariff, the race is on for those wishing to tap into the existing rates paid out to investors in solar energy in the UK. One of many hoping to set up under the current tariff regime is German manufacturer Solon who having secured a deal to construct a 408kw site in Buckinghamshire will be looking to have everything in place sooner rather than later.

The impetus to have everything in place comes from the fact that in August, the government are to make cutbacks to the feed-in tariff meaning lower yields for installations falling after that date. Meeting their construction timetable will mean client Rockspring benefitting as a large scale generator from tariff rates which will be cut for projects over 50kw through cutbacks.

Covering 1.4 hectares and employing over 1,500 modules this project is a good example of the large scale solar farms which the government is trying to push away in favour of smaller scale solar installations.

Having faced the challenge of cheap solar modules flooding the market from China and reductions in subsidies across the European Union, missing the revenues to be generated from the UK feed-in tariff would certainly be a bitter pill to swallow. In all, things are not overly rosy for the German manufacturer and missing the opportunity of revenue from the solar feed-in tariff could prove one misfortune too many.

Wadebridge, sitting in picturesque North Cornwall is a sight to behold with its abundance of solar panels furnishing rooftops with not inexpensive solar pv equipment. This concentration of roof mounted solar pv panels in Wadebridge has not occurred by chance, rather it is the result of a project designed to make the Cornish town the first in the country to be powered by solar energy.

The project, known as the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network or WREN is a scheme which hopes to meet self set targets of generating a third of its electricity from solar by 2015. By hooking into the government’s feed-in tariff mechanism WREN has hoped to install projects throughout the town and of course off sets costs through the tariff scheme. With bold targets of installing 7MW by 2015, Wadebridge could become a potential beacon for wholesale community solar projects in the UK but of course also reflects the fickle nature of an industry completely reliant on government tariff legislation.

The feed-in tariff enables small scale solar pv generators to generate revenue for the electricity produced and consumed by solar projects. Through the feed-in tariff WREN has projected that it could potentially generate £2.5million over the project’s 25 year life span with the money being reinvested back into other green energy projects. Recent announcements of the cuts to be made to the tariff could prove detrimental to Wren’s plans and the potential for healthy yields over the course of the project.

Stephen Frankel, the founder of Wren explained that,

“In contrast to recent green announcements, their success could be limited due to Government proposals to restrict the size of solar installations in the UK”.

“Proposals to limit the Feed-in tariff, payment for clean electricity, to small 50kWp systems means the town wouldn’t go ahead with mid to large scale projects which would bring much needed income into their community fund and help the town meet their renewable energy targets”.