UK prepares for battle over changes to solar feed-in tariff

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

The UK solar industry is gearing up for a fight over government plans to change the rules governing the country’s solar feed-in tariff.

A short consultation was launched in July proposing removing the FiT’s so-called pre-accreditation facility for projects over 50kW, meaning they would not be guaranteed a particular FiT rate prior to connection.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change said the changes were necessary to get on top of spiralling costs from the budget used to pay for the UK’s renewable subsidies programmes, such as the FiT. A full review of the UK's FiT programme is expected soon.

But ahead of the consultation on the pre-accreditation closing today, the UK’s three main solar trade bodies have spoken out against the proposed changes.

Lauren Cook, policy analyst at the Renewable Energy Association (REA), said it would focus its response the consultation proposals on the lack of an accompanying impact assessment carried out by the department and the short time-frame allocated for the consultation, a matter previously broached by environmental group Friends of the Earth.

Last month Friends of the Earth legal representative Jake White addressed secretary of state Amber Rudd to question the legality of the consultation period for renewables obligation support, arguing that it may breach administrative law by failing to comply to ‘Gunning Principles’, which set out the acceptable standards for public consultation.

DECC dismissed the complaint at the time insisting that the consultation remained within recommended guidelines. However the REA has sought to contend that further.

“We also question why this issue is being addressed outside of the main FiT review. It is difficult to respond on pre-accreditation in isolation, especially without an impact assessment and without knowing the intentions for the FiT as a whole,” Cook added.

DECC has also hinted towards further cost-control measures and could enact additional cuts to the FiT as part of a wider review to be held later this year as the department attempts to trim a forecasted £1.5 billion overspend under the Levy Control Framework.

The Solar Trade Association (STA) echoed the REA’s criticism of the short timeframe, adding that it had made it “difficult for the industry to respond”. The STA also questioned why no evidence had been provided for examination.

David Pickup, business analyst at the STA, said: “Preliminary accreditation provides the industry with a higher degree of investor security and certainty by which to get projects going. By removing it, combined with the proposal to also remove RO [renewables obligation] grandfathering, the government risks impacting investor confidence not just in solar, but in all UK infrastructure.”

“We very much encourage all solar companies and interested stakeholders to submit their own response to the consultation. STA has worked closely with its members to produce a robust STA response, but you must make your individual voices heard as well,” Pickup added.

Reza Shaybani, chairman of the British Photovoltaic Association, said that it had been difficult to engage in “meaningful dialogue” with the government since the consultation period had opened and added that the government must act if the solar industry is to embrace rooftops as the government expects.

“The government wants to push solar onto rooftops and the industry needs to be in control of what happens next. It’s much more important to look at and examine [the forthcoming feed-in tariff review] compared to what’s on the table right now. The future of the industry is on rooftops and we need certainty on what’s to come,” Shaybani added.

A separate consultation on proposals to close the Renewable Obligation programme to PV projects under 5MW projects a year earlier than planned closes on 2 September. The RO has been shut to projects over 5MW since April this year.

Solar Media, publisher of PV Tech, hosts the annual Solar Energy UK show, 13-15 October, now in its sixth year with over 7,000 attendees expected.

19 August 2021
The utility-scale PV market is poised for exponential growth and yet the industry still has many fundamental opportunities to improve on standards and best practice. Tracker shade loss has been one of those topics that deserve more attention, but has been typically handled by derate factors rather than trying to accurately forecast the loss over the life of the system. Join Nextracker’s subject matter experts, Aron Dobos and Neelesh Umachandran, and Rounak Kharait, director of solar energy assessments at DNV, for a webinar about why shade modeling matters and recommendations on what the solar industry should do about it.
25 August 2021
Energy Next is a new industry exhibition focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, which will be held for the first time in 2021 in Sydney, Australia alongside the Clean Energy Council’s Australian Clean Energy Summit, the peak gathering of leaders driving Australia's energy transformation. Organised by the same people behind Australia’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will give visitors two days of access to key suppliers in the industry, free-to-attend professional development and industry workshops, and networking opportunities to better understand clean energy issues and solutions and learn about the latest developments in this transformational, dynamic sector.
25 August 2021
The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. It addresses leading local and international experts on solar power and renewable energy in the region. The Summit’s mission is to provide in-depth education, enable high-quality networking opportunities, expand the use of PV technologies at regional and national level and strengthen the local PV industry. The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste is organized by Intersolar South America - Latin America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry: Solar Promotion International GmbH, Pforzheim, Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH (FMMI) and Aranda Eventos & Congressos Ltda, São Paulo as co-organizer.
25 August 2021
Join us to hear directly from the CTOs and heads-of-research from the top-20 cell/wafer producers to the PV industry today. The event will focus on predicting the key metrics underpinning the next big shift to n-type with answers to the key questions: When will the transition to n-type happen? Which companies will be first to 10 GW capacity and production? Who will be the key equipment suppliers for the new production lines? Which n-type process flow/architecture will emerge as the front-runner? What will polysilicon purity and wafer thickness levels look like for optimized n-type manufacturing? What will the upstream poly/wafer supply-chain look like in 5 years from now?
26 August 2021
In this webinar, JA Solar will present its product portfolio based on the latest technologies to improve your PV projects, ensuring maximum reliability and performance. During the webinar we will receive insight from JA Solar about its solar technology roadmap and how the manufacturer is providing customers with innovative solutions to suit their needs, while we will also analyse how to determine the best product solution for each solar project.
6 September 2021
The 38th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition will be held online from 6 - 10 September 2021, allowing PV experts from all around the globe to participate with just one click! The EU PVSEC is the world's leading forum for PV Research and Development and the biggest Conference on PV Solar Energy worldwide. That is why PV experts from all around the globe are keen on gathering together each year to be part of this specialist’s event, to present and discuss the latest developments in Photovoltaics, to network and to conduct business.

Read Next

July 29, 2021
Tracker and racking provider Arctech has delivered SkySmart II tracking system to a 575MW agriculture-sharing solar project located in Nangong City, Hebei Province, China.
July 29, 2021
Unigreen Energy, owned by Hevel majority shareholder Ream Management LLC, has broken ground on a wafer and cell manufacturing plant that will produce 1.3GW of silicon n-type monocrystalline ingots and wafers as well as 1GW of heterojunction technology (HJT) solar cells.
July 29, 2021
Meyer Burger has revealed plans to launch a solar roof tile product, expanding its rooftop solar product range.
July 29, 2021
US residential solar installer SunPower has partnered with EV charging provider Wallbox to add EV charging technologies to its portfolio.
July 29, 2021
US residential solar installer Sunnova said it was investing in its end-to-end solar services to cater for customers demanding more from their rooftop installations.
July 29, 2021
The US Senate has passed a new bipartisan infrastructure bill after weeks of protracted discussions, establishing US$550 billion in new infrastructure funding as part of an investment described as “once-in-a-generation”.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021