Current affairs

By guest columnist Bill Wright, head of energy solutions, Electrical Contractors’ Association

At long last the domestic RHI has been launched and is open for business. On the first day of operation, OFGEM accredited its first client for payments and there have been lots of enquiries on its help lines.

Also launched very recently has been the government’s UK Solar PV Strategy. This is a first for the government in actually laying down its aims and aspirations for the solar industry and should give encouragement to all struggling PV firms after the earlier FITs debacle.

The strategy targets PV systems on factories, commercial and public buildings such as the 24,000 schools in England and Wales which are singled out for development. It states its short term aim is for over 1GWp on government buildings. Schools will be given particular guidance on how to commission and finance PV schemes on their premises.

Additionally DECC and DCLG will work together to extend permitted development rights for large roof mounted PV systems of up to 1MW.

The hope is that PV will assist in the objective of achieving 15 percent renewable energy by 2020. Currently there is 2.7GWp of installed PV and the government has an ambition to achieve 20GWp by early next decade.

The cost of installed systems may still drop further, but additional financial assistance, such as inclusion of FITs in the Green Deal calculations, would boost uptake.