UK Climate Change Minister Greg Barker today unveiled the Government’s plans for limiting the financial support open to larger-scale solar projects under the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.
The Government launched a fast-track review of FITs for solar photovoltaic schemes over 50 kW last month, citing indications that there could already be 169 MW of larger-scale solar projects in planning. These developments could soak up the FIT funds otherwise available for around 50,000 domestic solar installations or other renewable technologies, the Government warned.
The consultation document proposes slashing FITs for photovoltaic systems to 19p/kWh for installations of 50-150 kW, 15p/kWh for installations 150-250 kW and 8.5p/kWh for installations of 250 kW to 5 MW or stand-alone developments.
Existing tariffs stand at 32.9p/kWh for installations of 10-100 kW and 30.7p/kWh for developments of 100 kW to 5 MW or stand-alone installations. The reductions could mean more than a 70% cut in potential FIT revenue for some larger schemes.
A typical domestic photovoltaic system is around 2.5 kW, so the changes will seriously affect community-scale schemes and developments by businesses.
But the Government says the changes are line with those made to similar schemes in Europe, particularly in Germany, France and Spain, and reflect the falling costs of photovoltaic systems.
The plans also propose increasing tariffs for farm-scale anaerobic digestion to 14p/kWh for projects up to 250 kW and 13p/kWh for those from 250-500 kW in order to boost the ‘disappointing’ lack of uptake of the technology.
The revised tariffs will come into force on August 1 and only apply to new entrants to the FITs scheme, not retrospectively. Smaller-scale schemes under 50 kW will not be affected under the current proposals, although a comprehensive review of the scheme is underway.
For further information:
UK Government launches review of feed-in tariffs (7-Feb)
UK microgeneration industry warns changes to feed-in tariffs could mean job losses (8-Feb)
18 March 2011