Big solar systems and subsidies could move with owners
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has today unveiled proposals that would let businesses and factories take their solar panels with them if they move location.
The change would apply to medium and large-sized solar installations (above 50kW) and would allow businesses to move their solar panels from one property to another and continue to claim the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) following a move.
The current system has previously been blamed for creating a lack of solar investment from business tenants who cannot guarantee to have the long-term ownership or lease of a building.
Launching this consultation, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy Amber Rudd said: “Around 900 businesses already use solar PV – but I want to see more generating their own electricity.
“There’s potential for significant growth in this area so it’s vital that we remove the barriers which prevent businesses from benefiting.
“If there’s more rooftop solar we’ll see job creation as well as helping us deliver the clean, reliable energy supplies that the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers.”
The uptake of rooftop solar could save UK companies more than £5bn a year. In fact, a recent study from Kingspan Energy found that installing solar PV on just 61% of the nation’s 2.500km2 south-facing commercial roof space would meet the total electricity demand of UK companies.
The Solar Trade Association’s chief executive Paul Barwell said: “In order to secure financing and reduce investment risk, it is so important for businesses to be eligible to take their solar installations with them if they move. Over a year ago, the Solar Trade Association identified this as one of the major barriers to more solar PV on big rooftops – it is great that Decc is now consulting on this key issue.”
The Government’s consultation on the transferability of FiT payments opens today and closes on 5th January 2015.
RO grace period
Another Decc statement released today, gave the green light for a ‘grid delay grace period’ for companies looking for support from the Renewables Obligation.
Essentially Decc will add a 12-month window to the March 2015 cut-off date , for renewable electricity suppliers who are late connecting to the national grid.
Barwell added: “We are delighted that the Government has adopted our suggested 12-month grace period on delays regarding grid connection. This will allow solar farms to continue to get funding from the Renewables Obligation when, through no fault of their own, there has been a delay connecting to the grid.”
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