Renewables obligation support scheme drops solar roofs

AZUR Solar 2The Government has announced that as of 1 April, 2016, the Renewables Obligation support scheme will be closed to all solar projects, both rooftop and ground mounted.

The Renewables Obligation is the long-running scheme that supports larger scale renewables projects, and will continue to be open to other technologies such as offshore wind, hydro and biomass until 2017.

Support for solar under the Renewables Obligation currently costs just £3 per year on household bills, and solar makes up only 6% of the total Renewables Obligation budget for all technologies.

This decision follows the Government’s decision last year to close the Renewables Obligation for solar projects bigger than 5MW in size.

The Government has also confirmed its decision to end ‘grandfathering’ for projects that do not meet the July cut-off date. ‘Grandfathering’ is the guarantee that once a solar project is built the level of support will remain the same for the lifetime of the project.

This has sparked great concern in the investor community, amid claims that it sets a dangerous precedent and has shaken investor confidence in energy infrastructure.

Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association commented: “Closing the Renewables Obligation for solar is not in the interests of bill payers when solar is soon to become the cheapest low carbon energy source. Following the Paris agreement, this needs rethinking.

“Removing the grandfathering guarantee makes no sense for solar – it’s the thin end of the wedge. You cannot have the level of support changing over the lifetime of a project as investors won’t take the risk.”

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