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Posted by: Roderick Ellison - MSc BSc (Hons) AIEMA on 02/03/2011

Yesterday Ecosulis attended Ecobuild at Excel in east London.  The conference is one of the world’s largest conferences on sustainable building and renewable energy (micro to medium scale) and runs until the 3rd March 2011.  As always the conference had excellent seminars, a huge diversity of business represented and was very well attended. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

At the conference we noticed a 'Save our Solar Campaign'; http://wesupportsolar.net/.

Ecosulis has been involved in the feasibility and planning related work for local solar PV field arrays and has been surprised that the 'greenest government ever' has threatened to cut Feed In Tariff (FIT) for these projects.  We have watched the industry gradually build over the last nine months and since Greg Barkers recent announcement, in addition to the uncertainty introduced by the comprehensive spending review, noticed investor confidence diminish.  We struggle to understand why this new industry is not being supported.

The fast-track review of FITs is aimed at solar farms with more than 50kw of capacity, including building integrated and rooftop solar panels. Firstly we do not understand why the review level has been set so low as to capture a medium scale local authority or building installations.  Furthermore why the coalition government has reversed support for large scale/field based PV on the basis that "we inherited a system which failed to anticipate industrial field arrays".  The tariff introduced last April clearly anticipated such projects and has categories to cover 1-5 MWe PV and stand alone projects.   Clearly projects of this scale and with a capex in tens of millions were never going to be funded by home owners?

The FITs have been a huge success and the government should be planning to expand the scheme, but instead seem minded to increase investor uncertainty and undermining a scheme that has resulted in more than 21,000 renewable energy installations during its first nine months. When one compares our FITs to Germany (where some 17,000 MWe of solar has been installed) it is clear that what the UK requires is a transparent annual review of the tariffs which carefully adjusts rates based on market activity in a similar fashion to the German Federal Network Agency or Bundesnetzagentur; not knee jerk reactions. 

We hope some of the changes to planning and energy regulations are formalised in reasonable timeframes as so far this year we have seen changes initiated to grandfathering under ROCS, the IPC and NPSs, regional planning and the introduction of localism and now tinkering with the FIT.  Surely if we are to stimulate renewables via feed in tariffs (we are the last European country to introduce them after all) what developers need is certainty?

If you would like more information of renewables and energy regulations contact info@ecosulis.co.uk or come and see us the Renewable Energy Marketplace on the 22 March 2011 at Westpoint, Exeter.


Categories: Ecological Contracting
Tags: feasibilty studies | feed in tariffs | Solar PV
2 comments » Comments
Wendy Goodwin, BSc, C.Biol 30/10/2011 Dear Sir, I whole agree with your comments. How can a government that that signed up to the world wide agreement to reduce CO2 emissions suddenly change their tack? This is rather a selfish reasoning as I was going to invest in PV to help top-up my meager teacher pension as I have just retired and find that there is no where else that can produce the income that PV WAS going to provide for "a scheme that has BEEN GUARANTEED by the UK governement for 25 years". Regards, Wendy Goodwin
Steve 07/03/2011 Absolutely, uncertainty over changes to the planning system and related issues are a major 'enemy of enterprise', which the coalition government now purport to be addressing. Let's hope they do!
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Dear Sir, I whole agree with

Dear Sir, I whole agree with your comments. How can a government that that signed up to the world wide agreement to reduce CO2 emissions suddenly change their tack? This is rather a selfish reasoning as I was going to invest in PV to help top-up my meager teacher pension as I have just retired and find that there is no where else that can produce the income that PV WAS going to provide for "a scheme that has BEEN GUARANTEED by the UK governement for 25 years".
Regards,
Wendy Goodwin

Absolutely, uncertainty over

Absolutely, uncertainty over changes to the planning system and related issues are a major 'enemy of enterprise', which the coalition government now purport to be addressing. Let's hope they do!

Taylor Wimpey, Welsh Power, Morgan Cole, DPDS Consulting, Wates Developments, WSP, Gamesa