UK Posts

Solar energy in the U.K. moves north

Solar energy in the U.K. moves north

The Solar Trade Association (STA) announced that the U.K. government’s plans to cut its support for Solar PV represents a fall from 70 million pounds to just 2 million a year. Meanwhile the Scottish government not only confirms that sub-5 MW solar farms will continue to be eligible for the Renewable Obligation (ROC), they will also support even further community solar through an ambitious dedicated scheme. As Scotland distances itself from England and Wales, this might just mean that investments in solar PV will be heading north of the border.

UK to stop subsidies for sub 5MW solar parks and to change its FiT scheme

UK to stop subsidies for sub 5MW solar parks and to change its FiT scheme

The UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced today that it wants to scrap its Renewable Obligations (ROCs) subsidies for sub 5MW solar farms from April 1, 2016, one year earlier from what was originally planned. Other changes include the removal of pre-accreditation from the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme for PV installations larger than 50 kWp.

Rooftop mounted PV: new trend for investors in the UK

Rooftop mounted PV: new trend for investors in the UK

As the UK is transitioning from the Renewable Energy Obligation scheme (ROC) to the Contract for Difference scheme (CfD) for large ground mounted systems (5MW+), investors are becoming increasingly investing in rooftop mounted PV.

CfD’s (Contracts for Difference): 5 things you need to know

Big changes have been anSolar_1nounced by the UK government regarding changes to the support machanism for large scale PV,  with the government moving from Renewable Energy Certificates (ROC’s) to CfD’s (Contracts for Difference). Below are 5 key aspects and considerations that should be in the mind of any PV professional operating in the UK.



Solar in the City: How urban community solar projects can both improve the lives of residents and offer future investment opportunities.

As the mercury rises across the capital, London’s tower blocks and estates are basking in the summer sun. But beyond the beer and BBQ’s, Councils and Housing associations across the UK are feeling increasing pressure from central government to make their buildings and housing stock more energy efficient. This stems from dual concerns regarding both the environment and the increasing cost of energy, a cost which comes directly from already stretched local authority budgets.

Tower Blocks offer a great opportunity for inner city solar PV energy production.

In response to this, several proactive councils and community organizations are beginning to install PV solar panels in order to meet this demand and reduce bills for both councils and residents. Under the governments Green Deal scheme, the Edward Woods estate in Hammersmith, West London received £16m in grants to upgrade its energy efficiency, this included installing a PV solar array on the roofs of the blocks to provide electricity to residents. This scheme has so far proved helpful in reducing bills for a largely deprived community, where a large proportion of residents would be described as in ‘fuel poverty’.

 A scheme across the city in Brixton is developing community funded solar PV installations that do not rely on council money or government grants, but instead rely on private investment from both the estate’s residents and external investors. Its mission is to create ‘cooperatively owned renewable energy projects’ that benefit the community, bring down the peoples carbon footprint and substantially reduce energy bills. Run as a not for profit ‘Brixton Energy’ already has three sites across the area and is seeking investment to expand further. As a community project Brixton Energy seeks to benefit from the governments reformed FIT rates, these give higher rates to community owned energy projects that produce over 10 Megawatts of power. Investors also benefit from the governments Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) which gives a 50% tax break to those investing in the scheme. This helps to encourage small scale investment in innovative community run projects.

 Although returns on these types of investments are small (estimated at 4%), harnessing private equity for these projects is crucial, and with the government’s continued support, these projects can benefit the communities involved and yield returns for investors. These schemes, both council and privately lead, also reduce the burden on peoples and the councils pocket by sourcing organised housing units’ power needs from renewable and sustainable technology. Although problems with this approach have been identified. An  article produced by the BBC states that ‘Shares (in community solar projects) may be difficult to sell, as there is no real marketplace to do so.’ 

 Source:BBC News, London School of Economics, Brixton Energy


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