Posts tagged with: UK Government

  • 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”

We have teamed up with one of the UK’s leading Photo Voltaic installer and Distributor to enable us to offer you this amazing Solar Investment.

This company is enabling UK investors to take advantage of a new opportunity unlike anything previously accessible, which will appeal to individual investors, savers, businesses and financial institutions alike

You can now purchase an investment-grade, high-yield Solar Power System (SPS) along with the UK Government-guaranteed right to income from the energy it produces.

How much does it cost?

A single payment of £16000 (plus VAT at 5%) gives you ownership and the rights to any income generated by the SPS for up to 25 years. If you choose to retain ownership for the full term, the payments you receive would repay your capital outlay and produce an additional average return of 7%.

What Is The Return?

Through the SPS, investors and savers can gain a guaranteed income for 25 years which is index-linked and will provide an average return of 7% per annum, by taking advantage of the government’s Feed-in Tariff Scheme (FITS) scheme, also known as the Clean Energy Cash Back scheme, which came into effect on 1st April 2010.

Click Here For More Information

With the UK government announcing the imminent introduction of a feed-in tariff for renewable energy generation, the UK solar industry is already seeing the development of a grass roots approach to solar energy.

Feed-in tariffs which have been established in other developed countries with the basic motive of attracting investment in fledgling renewable industries will be replicated in Britain with solar installers being offered premium rates (typically 25p/kWh over a project’s lifetime) for the units of energy fed back in to the national grid.

Such incentives are of course absolutely necessary in order to make investment in expensive technologies viable by offering attractive returns on investment to investors.

One of the first projects to take advantage of the feed-in tariff or ‘Clean Energy Cash Back’ scheme is a social housing scheme in Manchester which plans to generate around £900 per household a year by selling renewable energy back in to the national grid.

The Manchester based co-operative called Horizon Energy Corporative is working with landlords in the Manchester area to maximise the potential of solar energy in the Manchester region.

The scheme, put together by EIC has received the full support of the department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) which hopes that such schemes will help the UK to catch up with other countries where feed-in tariffs have been established now for some time while at the same time offering financial rewards for social housing projects.

Managing Director of EIC, Andrew Melchior stated that,

“Our energy will be used to drive down the costs of electricity and hot water for those in need of relief from fuel poverty, while supplying community-generated energy to householders in North West England.

With sufficient support there is no reason we shouldn’t end up producing energy output equivalent to one quarter of a conventional coal-fired power station.”

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…