Does the cap FiT?

The long term level of financial incentive to stimulate take up of solar PV may finally be FiT for purpose, according to ELECSA, the renewable technology certification body. 

From July 2012 the level of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) could help reinvigorate the sustainable take up of solar PV and help smaller installers to diversify into renewables.

“Looking beyond the uncertainty surrounding the Supreme Court appeal against the High Court decision, the government strategy is looking more sustainable for Microgeneration Scheme Certificate (MCS) holders to future-proof the FiT, whereas the fear was that there would be no money left,” said Griff Thomas, technical manager, Microgeneration & Renewables at ELECSA, the certification arm of the ECA.

“We must keep a sense of perspective because the FiT was always going to be gradually reduced in line with take up once the renewables industry had been kick started,” he added.

Up until July, it will be pegged at 21 pence for installations with an eligibility date from March 3. From July the proposal is that future rates will be linked to total installed capacity – adjusting the rates paid to reflect the amount of work being done. The volume of installation work will be monitored between 3 March and the end of April. A higher than anticipated installation base will have a more dramatic effect on the future tariff rate in order to manage the ongoing budget. A lower than expected install rate will mean the cut will be less severe to keep the market stimulated.

On the future of the Feed-in Tariffs, the government’s new consultation outlines an ongoing programme of six-monthly ‘degression’ for PV tariffs that builds in automatic reviews and triggers for the industry to ensure that further cuts can be managed by businesses. There are also proposals to reduce the period for which solar PV tariffs should be applied from 25 to 20 years and introduces a link to the energy efficiency of the property.

From July 1, band D energy properties will be able to qualify for FiT payments, downgraded from energy band C in line with industry comment. Properties that have rating lower than D will qualify for a standalone rate of 8.9p.