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Social housing and rent-a-roof schemes not in “fast track” FITs review

 Feb, 14 - 2011   Green Issues

Following the announcement last week of the Feed in Tariffs (FITs) review, an unfounded rumour has been circulation that “free solar” (or so-called “rent-a-roof” schemes) and social housing are likely to be included in the “fast track” review of FITs for solar PV under 50kW, where new tariff levels are expected to be in place by the summer holidays.

This rumour has created considerable and quite unnecessary alarm. Last Thursday, in response to a written Parliamentary Question, Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, moved to squash this speculation by making clear that both social housing and free solar will not be in the fast-track review. The answer below makes specific reference to social housing not being in the fast-track, and “free solar” being in the comprehensive review (rather than the fast-track).

Greg Barker said: “The comprehensive review of Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) announced on 7 February 2011 will consider all aspects of the FITs scheme, including photovoltaics for all bands and applications, including social housing. It will report before the end of this year for implementation in April 2012.

The review will also include specific fast-track consideration of large-scale solar photovoltaic installations of more than 50kW and fast-track consideration of farm based Anaerobic Digestion.

The starting point for determining whether an installation would fall above or below 50kW threshold is the existing FITs legislation. On this basis, the review of tariffs for installations below 50kW would not be fast-tracked. This is regardless of whether they are installed on private housing or social housing.

The Government fully supports “rent a roof” models (third party ownership financial packages), especially in the context of opening up the benefits of FITs to those living in social housing. However, the effectiveness and costs of all elements of the FITs scheme will be considered as part of the comprehensive review which will be tasked with improving the scheme to deliver both greater long term certainty to industry and investors and also deliver value for money to consumers.”

Installers looking to offer Solar PV under FITs must be MCS accredited. Logic4training’s Solar PV training course is recognised by the MCS as a contributing factor to registration under the scheme.