The UK government unveiled proposals on Friday that will further cut subsidies for large-scale solar projects under the Renewables Obligation (RO).
The consultation document sets support levels under the RO at roughly the same point as smaller domestic solar photovoltaics installations receive from the feed-in tariff (FIT).
Under the proposals, support for large solar farms >5 MW would be reduced from 2 ROCs (Renewables Obligation Certificates) to 1.5 per MWh after April 2013. In 2014, this would wall to 1.3 ROCS/MWh, with further reductions to 1.1 ROCs in 2015 and 0.9 ROCs in 2015/16.
The cuts are larger than those previously proposed by the government last October, which would have seen ROCs cut to 1.9 ROCs/MWH in 2015 and 1.8 ROCs in 2016/17.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey justified the cut saying that it reflected the falling costs of solar photovoltaics.
“Solar PV and biomass are important renewable technologies as we move towards a more low-carbon energy mix,” he commented. “Our proposals are designed to encourage the most economically sound solar PV projects under the RO and ensure value for money for the consumer.”
Davey says that the government is trying to move quickly with finalising the plans to give certainly to the industry. The consultation on the proposals is open until October 19.
The government also says that it is considering excluding new solar installations of 5 MW or less from the RO and supporting them through the FIT alone.
The UK currently has no solar photovoltaic installations greater than 5 MW but some 120 MW of capacity have been consented of which 115 MW could be in larger developments.
For further information:
Sainbury’s lays claim to Europe’s largest solar power array (6-Aug)
UK government confirms final cuts to microgeneration subsidies (23-Jul)
UK government delays decision on renewables subsidy levels (18-Jul)
10 September 2012