Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, launched the comprehensive review of the Feed in Tariffs (FITs) scheme this week, following growing evidence that large scale solar farms could soak-up money intended to help homes, communities and small businesses generate their own electricity.
With the government committed to saving 10% of money spent on FITs in 2014-15, the increase in this type of mass energy generation could push FITs costs off-track. The review is intended to give the industry certainty in continuing to invest, re-dressing the balance if necessary.
Since FITs began last year it has been a huge success at stimulating green growth, driving innovation, creating jobs and cutting carbon. More than 21,000 installations have been registered to date. The vast majority of these are domestic installations, including solar panels, wind turbines and micro-hydro plants.
Chris Huhne said: “The renewables industry is a vital piece in the green growth jigsaw and this review will provide long term certainty while making sure homes, communities and small firms are encouraged to produce their own green electricity.
“Large scale solar installations weren’t anticipated under the FITs scheme we inherited and I’m concerned this could mean that money meant for people who want to produce their own green electricity has the potential to be directed towards large scale commercial solar projects.”
The comprehensive FITs review will:
• Assess all aspects of the scheme including tariff levels, administration and eligibility of technologies;
• Be completed by the end of the year, with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012 (unless the review reveals a need for greater urgency);
• Fast track consideration of large scale solar projects (over 50kW) with a view to making any resulting changes to tariffs as soon as practical, subject to consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny as required by the Energy Act 2008.
Alongside the fast track review of large scale solar PV, a short study into the uptake of FITs for farm based Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants will also take place. Only two such projects have been accredited so far and by this point at least six were expected. The tariff rates will be examined to see if they are enough to make farm based AD worthwhile.
The Government will not act retrospectively and any changes to generation tariffs implemented as a result of the review will only affect new entrants into the FITs scheme. Installations which are already accredited for FITs at the time will not be affected.
If you want to take advantage of the growing market created by FITs, you need to get Micro-generation Scheme (MCS) accredited. Logic4training’s Solar PV course is approved by the MCS and is recognised as a contributing factor to gaining this status.
More information about the FITs review can be found here: www.decc.gov.uk/FITS