Industry hails UK energy minister’s export tariff stance

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The U.K. renewable energy industry has been up in arms – again – recently following the government’s July announcement that it was considering ending export tariffs for solar.

However, good news came today in the form of comments from Energy Minister Claire Perry, which were made in the House of Commons.

During the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee Oral Questions, Perry is quoted as saying, “I do completely agree that solar power should not be provided to the grid for free and that’s why I’ll shortly be announcing the next steps for small scale renewables.”

According to a statement issued from the U.K. Solar Trade Association (STA), she also said, “It would be wrong to have power provided to the grid for free,“ and, “People who have gone through the installation process should not be essentially captive takers should someone want to buy their energy and I’m looking forward to announcing some further deliberations on this shortly.”

Celebrating the news, STA chief executive, Chris Hewett said, “We are delighted that Clare Perry has now stated clearly that future small solar generators should receive payment for their exported electricity … As ever the devil is in the detail, so we now need to see the proposals and make sure they are in place from April 2019, but this is a good day for solar installers and prospective rooftop solar owners.”

James Court, Policy and External Affairs Director at the Renewable Energy Association also rejoiced, stating, “It is hugely welcome that the Energy Minister has acknowledged the united calls from across industry and parliament that no-one should be expected to give away electricity for free.

“The feed-in tariff has been a stand out success, and has led to huge cost reductions. Cancelling the export tariff though would be a significant blow, for industry, for consumers, and for the UK if we are to meet our climate commitments.”

During a consultation on the country’s FIT scheme in July, the BEIS recommended, in addition to ending the generation tariffs for solar on March 31, 2019, removing export tariffs – meaning homeowners would not be paid for the electricity they supply to the grid. The industry, which was naturally against the idea, had until September 13 to respond.