New measures have been introduced that will help community energy installations and school installations. From 1 December 2012 it was no longer be a requirement for community and school projects to meet a level D on the EPC. This means that any valid non-domestic EPC with any rating (G or above) will meet the new EPC requirements. Extensions to existing installations, even if they are solar PV community energy or school installations, will still be required to meet the existing EPC level D or above in order to receive the higher tariff.
A further benefit for community and school installations comes in the form of preliminary accreditation. This will apply to community and school installations with a declared net capacity over 50kW. In certain circumstances it may provide a tariff guarantee for a set validity period and also confirm eligibility before the installation has been commissioned. Extensions to existing installations, even if they are solar PV community energy or school installations, will still be required to meet the existing EPC level D or above in order to receive the higher tariff.
Preliminary accreditation is available for all PV and wind installations with a declared net capacity over 50kW, and all anaerobic digestion and hydro installations. An application for preliminary accreditation must be accompanied by a number of documents or evidence:
- Planning permission;
- Grid connection agreement;
- Relevant licensing and consents (hydro only).
Each of these documents must be dated on or before the application for preliminary accreditation is submitted. It is possible to apply for preliminary accreditation more than once if the installation is not commissioned within the first validity period.