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Reductions to solar feed-in tariffs slammed by industry

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has criticised the government for reducing solar tariff rates by up to 49%on large scale schemes.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has announced its fast-track review into feed-in tariffs for small scale low carbon electricity generation.

The rates have been reduced by up to 70% with no transition arrangements. The new rates stand at:

For large photo-voltaic installations:

  • >50kW - ≤150kW: 19p/kWh
  • >150kW - ≤250kW: 15p/kWh
  • >250kW - ≤5MW: 8.5p/kWh

And for farm scale anaerobic digestion installations:

  • ≤250kW:   14p/kWh
  • >250 - ≤500kW: 13p/kWh

The REA has criticised the changes by making projects “totally unviable”, and adding there was “disbelief within the industry that the Government has totally undermined the PV sector without having first properly understood its potential”.

“Larger PV projects are cheaper, and have a major role in driving down costs,” said REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell.

“We don’t want boom and bust in this sector either,but pulling the rug out from under the feet of those that have ventured into this market was precisely the wrong response. The UK will return to the solar slow-lane. It’s as good as a retrospective change and that does untold damage to investor confidence.  It’s not acceptable and we will fight it.”

However, Climate Change minister Greg Barker said that “in these financially challenging times, it is even more important that we get the balance of the scheme right.”

“The projections for take up of FITs published by the previous government failed to anticipate any large or small scale non-domestic solar PV installations until 2013.

“These projections have clearly proved to be flawed. Current market indications are that a rapid increase in the number of larger solar installations entering the scheme could distort funding for smaller and domestic scale installations as well as other technologies.

“Conversely the current tariff levels have failed to spur a meaningful uptake for anaerobic digestion which means that this technology is not fulfilling its potential contribution to our energy mix.”

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