UK: Movable FIT option for commercial rooftops receives STA backing

The U.K.’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced proposals that would allow businesses and factories that have installed a medium- to large-scale rooftop installation to move premises and take their FIT with them.

The proposals have been welcomed by the U.K.’s Solar Trade Association (STA), which has stated this issue has been one of the major barriers for the commercial solar sector in the country.

The proposals would allow companies that have invested in a rooftop solar installation greater than 50 kW to be able to continue claiming their feed-in tariff should they move premises. The consultation period on this proposal of transferable FIT payments ends on January 5, 2015, and could free up this solar sector to a raft of businesses previously reluctant to undertake such an investment that could have – in the fickle world of SMEs at least – proven short-term.

"In order to secure financing and reduce investment risk, it is so important for businesses to be eligible to take their solar installations with them if they move," said STA CEO Paul Barwell. "Over a year ago the STA identified this as one of the major barriers to more solar PV on large rooftops, so it is great that DECC is now consulting on this key issue."

The STA has also praised DECC for adapting the grace period for PV projects that may be eligible for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) after the April 1 2015 date to include those struck by grid connection delays.

The initial grace period – for projects that were in the advanced stage of planning when the decision was taken in May to end the ROC scheme two years early – was previously only meant to extend for three months after the April 1 cut-off point, but STA has successfully lobbied DECC to put in place a grace period of 12 months.

"We are delighted that the government has adopted our suggested 12 month grace period on delays regarding grid connection," added Barwell. "This will allow solar farms to continue to get funding from the ROC when, through no fault of their own, there has been a delay connecting to the grid."