UK: Hopes for rooftop market as solar farm support fades

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In a sign of the potential of the U.K. commercial rooftop market, major retailer Marks & Spencer announced this week that it has completed the U.K.’s largest single rooftop PV array, with a 5 MW system on its East Midlands distribution center. The project was presented as a case study at the EcoBuild trade show today.

However despite positive stories such as this one, there are fears the FIT program structure will prevent the commercial rooftop space from reaching its potential

“We really want the commercial rooftop market to take off,” said David Pickup, the Solar Trade Association’s (STA) Business Analyst speaking to pv magazine from the EcoBuild show. “Our worry is that under the current tariff system there really is not much room for growth before you encounter serious regressions.”

FITs in the U.K. are tied to installed capacity, with tariffs set to decrease as capacity grows.

“It is assessed per quarter,” Pickup told pv magazine. “After 32.5 MW then the tariff begins to decrease and it is something like at 130 MW when the tariff drops by 28%. That is a significant drop in tariff in a short space of time.”