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Community energy

Commercial rooftops need ‘urgent boost’ as FIT cuts come into effect

The Solar Trade Association has said commercial rooftops and community farm projects need an “urgent boost” as the latest feed-in tariff (FiT) degression comes into effect.

Yesterday marked the deadline for which projects must have been accredited to qualify for the feed-in tariff before their respective degressions came into effect.

The degression has taken the FiT rate for sub-5MW solar farms from 6.16p/kWh to 4.44p/kWh, a figure which has caused widespread doubt over the feasibility and attractiveness of some projects, particularly those built on commercial farms and those hoping to qualify for the government’s split-connection community and commercial scheme.

The STA has said the “dramatic” cut for such projects means they will struggle to get built moving forward, while the association has also criticised how the FiT for large solar roofs (250kW+) has been cut despite a lacklustre uptake.

Just 85MW of capacity has been installed on large scale roofs since 2010 but the FIT is still to be cut to 5.94p/kWh due to how the rate is tied to activity in the regular commercial rooftop market, a process Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the STA, said made “no sense”.

“The industry still awaits clear policies from government but ministers have spoken positively about community solar schemes and larger solar roofs, so we very much hope the new government will correct the FIT to boost these markets. We have set out how easy and cost-effective it would be to do that in our Solar Independence Plan,” she said.

Amber Rudd’s Department of Energy and Climate Change is expected to start the FiTs review imminently having been elected into government in early May, the results of which could be announced in September before being adopted in before the end of the year.