The U-turn has been forced, say the Government, because it under estimated the amount of large scale solar demanding funding under FITs before 2013.

Climate change minister, Greg Barker, has now changed the funding level available for solar photovoltaic (PV) plants generating more than 50 kW of power.

FITs new tariffs

The Government is proposing reducing the support for all new PV installations larger than microgeneration size (50kW) and standalone installations:

·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 April of:

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

This according to Mr Barker is because there ‘could already be’ 169 megawats of large scale solar capacity in the planning system already.

An equivalent to funding solar panels on the roofs of around 50,000 homes – if tariffs are left unchanged.

Mr Barker said: “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.

“I want to make sure 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.”

SolarCentury chairman and PV campaigner, Jeremy leggett, called the move a ‘mockery’.

He said: “No renewables company or investor can easily be able to trust this Government again after this U-turn by ministers who were so quick in opposition to call for a more ambitious feed-in tariff, and so ready with empty promises in the early months of government.

“I’ve had numerous conversations with ministers during which I have been assured any urgent review of FITs would be carried out after publication of a proper trigger and would in any case exclude built-environment PV.

“The Government has not only betrayed those assurances, but today proposes feed-in tariff rates that would ensure the UK’s PV industry stalls.

“The total cost of the PV tariff to date has been less than a penny a month on domestic bills and the total FIT spend is running way below the Government’s projections.

“These proposals aim to rebalance the scheme and put a stop to the threat of larger-scale solar soaking up the cash, but 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.”

Luke Walsh


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