Having called on government to deliver a Budget that unlocked the potential of solar energy in the UK, the STA described Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement on March 11 as “thin on measures to tackle climate change”.
It said it welcomed the recent decision to include largescale ground-mounted solar in the next round of government’s Contracts for Difference clean power auctions, but it was disappointed that an opportunity was missed in the budget to exempt solar from business rates.
STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett said: “The freeze on the carbon price support rate is particularly disappointing, as is the lack of any meaningful policy on energy efficiency and green improvements for existing homes, such as solar and battery storage.
“We do welcome the decision to hold a review of business rates, which are the main barrier to deployment of large rooftop PV.”
Other changes to the renewables and clean energy sector announced by the Chancellor included an extension of the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) until March 31 2022, meaning that projects will have another year to qualify for the seven-year payment scheme.
Meanwhile, from 2022-2025 there will be £270 million funding for a Green Heat Network Fund to follow on from the Heat Network Investment Project, and £100m funding for 2022/23 and 2023/24 to provide grants to households and small non-domestic buildings to install heat pumps or biomass boilers.
More details are due to be released for the latter, which is expected to help replace the RHI once it ends in 2022.
Fuel duty has been frozen for an 11th year, although a £500m electric vehicle (EV) charging fund was confirmed by Sunak, as was an extension of the electric vehicle homecharge, workplace charging and on-street residential chargepoint scheme to 2023.