British feed-in tariffs for "larger" solar installations dramatically cut

In the changes, released today, from August 1 2011, new entrants into the FIT scheme will receive drastically reduced tariffs. Installations worth 50 kW to 150 kW will receive 19 pence per-kilowatt-hour (p/kWh), between 150 to 250 kW 15 p/kWh, between 250 kW to 5 MW and stand-alone installations 8.5 p/kWh.

The previous categories for FITs were delineated differently making direct comparisons difficult, however the cuts for installations between 50 kW and 150 kW are in the region of 23.3 p/kWh or 73 percent. For installations between 250 kW to 5MW and all stand-alone installations, again taking into account the changes to FIT categories used by the government, the decrease is of more than 20 p/kWh or 72 percent.

Announcing the changes, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said that the changes are necessary to support smaller scale installations. "Without action the scheme would be overwhelmed. The new tariffs will ensure a sustained growth path for the solar industry while protecting the money for householders, small businesses and communities."

The British Renewable Energy Association (REA) has slammed the changes and handling of the affair. Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell said in statement, "larger-scale photovoltaics has been demonized, when it is the most cost-effective approach. The logical approach would have been a 25 percent reduction across the board."

The FIT review results were announced along with a government commitment to supporting Anaerobic Digestion energy production, which was welcomed by REA.

The Solar Trade Association (STA) has also reacted angrily to the deep FIT cuts. Blaming the British Treasury department for the severity of the cuts to larger scale solar installations, STA Chairman Howard Johns released a statement. "Treasury have crippled the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) ability to respond to major developments in solar and DECC itself hasn’t got to grips with this technology."

pv magazine has completed an exclusive roundup of FIT schemes worldwide.