Current affairs

Bill Wright, head of energy solutions at the ECA, explains why the ending of ROCs support for solar could be of benefit to installers, contrary to popular opinion

Pleas from the industry for stability on energy policy appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Since the Conservatives came into power we’ve seen a number of policies reviewed – or, in the case of the Green Deal, cancelled as the government sets out its legislative agenda for the next five years.

It’s hard to tell whether these changes will help or hinder our industry. There is a certain logic in the proposed changes to solar PV installations in terms of accreditation and the use of ROCs. The existing schemes are expensive to consumers and the taxpayer and as they have now achieved their aim of increasing PV installations perhaps the time is right for them to be reviewed.

Going forward, the government appears to favour smaller PV installations on existing buildings over the large scale ones, which led to the growth of solar farms as farmers and landowners looked to capitalise on a more profitable way of using their land than farming crops. However, their unpopularity with the public may have resulted in the government changing its preference in favour of smaller installations. This could be good news for the industry, as roof top installations are relatively quick – and profitable – to plan and install.

Perhaps this news is a silver lining amongst all this change, but what we really want is long term stability so investments in renewable energy sources can be properly evaluated. Sadly, I think this is some way off and that there are more changes to come.