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News Jun 13, 2012 No Comments


The UK Government announced on 24th May their cost control framework for solar PV, including details of the new tariff rates for solar PV which will come into effect on 1st August 2012.

Householders with an eligibility date on or before 31st July 2012 will receive the current 21p/kWh (<4kW) rate. Those with an eligibility date after this should be aware of the key changes announced by the UK Government.

From 1st August 2012:

  • The new tariff rate for solar PV <4kWp will drop to 16p/kWh with an EPC band D or higher (if band E or less the lower tariff rate has also dropped to 7.1p/kWh).
  • The export tariff rate will increase to 4.5p/kWh for all new solar PV installations.
  • The tariff period (lifetime) will be reduced for solar PV from 25 to 20 years for all new solar PV installations.

Full details can be found at


News Mar 29, 2012 No Comments

In news that will make life easier for many UK solar installers, from April 6 this year planning permission will no-longer be required to install solar PV or solar thermal on non-domestic buildings. The new rules will also mean that ground-mounted systems up to 9m2 will be able to go ahead without a planning application.

The new regulations, which are coming into affect by an amendment to Permitted Development Rights (PDRs), will have a great impact on the requirements for planning for retrofits on commercial and agricultural buildings. Those who were held back, or forced to cancel projects due to the delays planning caused when the feed-in tariff changes were going through, will no longer face such restrictions.

However, as with most things in life, there are certain conditions that must be met.

Roof mounted solar

A roof-mounted solar system must not protrude more than 200mm from the roof/wall surface it is mounted on. There is an exception to this is if the system is on a flat roof, where the solar PV must be less than 1m in height above the highest part of the flat roof excluding any chimneys.

The roof-mounted solar installation must also be more than 1m away from the external edge of the roof or the joint of the wall that it is on and if the system is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, or land with similar restrictions (article 1(5) then the solar cannot be on a roof slope or wall fronting the highway.

Furthermore, planning permission is required if the solar is on a listed building, on a building within the curtilage of a listed building or upon a site designated as a scheduled ancient monument.

Further conditions

  • The solar equipment must, so far as practicable, be sited so as to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building;
  • The solar equipment must, so far as practicable, be sited so as to minimise its effect on the amenity of the area; and
  • Solar equipment no longer needed for micro generation must be removed as soon as reasonably practicable

Ground Mounted

In terms of ground-mounted solar, the new planning conditions also mean that installations of up to 9m2 will not require permissions. However, the solar must not be taller than 4m, only one to ground mounted system can be present of any one building, solar must not exceed 4m in height and the solar must not be installed so that it is nearer to any highway than any part of the building which is nearest to the same highway.

Further, the solar must not be installed within 5m of the boundary of the curtilage and planning permission will still be required if the solar is within the curtilage of a listed building or on a site designated as a scheduled ancient monument.

Further conditions

  • The ground mounted solar must, so far as practicable, be sited so as to minimise its effect on the amenity of the area; and
  • Ground mounted solar which is no longer needed for micro generation must be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.

Commenting on this news, Alexander Creed, Partner, Resources and Energy at Strutt & Parker, said: “We welcome these changes; they will make the installation of solar on commercial and agricultural much more straightforward and we always considered it perverse that you could install on domestic properties without planning but not commercial or agricultural ones.

‚ÄúWe think that this change opens a window of opportunity for those that have been considering installing solar but haven’t progressed a project – possibly put off by the rollercoaster of feed-in tariffs. We think it opens a window as you will be able to install on a roof after the April 6 and this gives a good window until the June 30 before the next FiT reduction.

“As systems connected before the July 1 will benefit from a 25 year solar PV FiT and a linkage to the RPI rather than the CPI, this will give better returns to the project. With the current pricing for a 50kW system any project completed before July 1 should achieve an internal rate of return of over 10 percent.”


News Feb 09, 2012 No Comments

Today, the Department of Energy and Climate Change set out revisions to the feed-in tariff scheme designed to place it on a secure footing for the foreseeable future. DECC introduced a new cost-control mechanism, a link to energy efficiency requirements and a number of controversial proposals in its new consultation document, including reducing the tariff lifetime by five years.

DECC has announced that solar panels installed on or after April 1, 2012 will be required to produce an Energy Performance Certificate rating of D or above to qualify for the full FiT level. DECC lowered the proposed level from C to D as a result of industry concerns raised from almost 3,000 responses to the consultation. DECC viewed the previous proposals for an EPC rating of C or linking it to all financeable measures under the Green Deal, as “impractical at this stage.”  DECC estimates that about half of all properties are already eligible for a ‘D’ rating.

DECC’s proposed mechanism for changing tariffs after July will include an automatic baseline transgression of 10 percent every six months, which can be triggered early if deployment exceeds pre-determined levels. The system will be reviewed annually to ensure that it is performing well against its objectives.

DECC is also proposing that solar FiT tariff levels should reduce from July 1, 2012. The rates for July will be 13.6p or 16.5p depending on the volume of deployment of PV in March and April 2012. FiT rates will be further reduced in October by 5 percent, and every six months thereafter. The Department is also consulting on whether the export tariff can be raised and whether or not the lifetime of the FiT scheme should be reduced from 25 years to 20.

Source: Solar Power Portal


News Jan 25, 2012 No Comments

After deliberating since January 13, the Court of Appeal has today denied the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) a hearing for its appeal against the High Court’s December ruling on UK solar feed-in tariffs. This means the feed-in tariff should now go back to 43.3p for <4kW systems installed until March 3, 2012.

To clarify though, the Government are now going to Appeal to the Supreme Court so the ruling could still be overturned.  We are advising our customers to expect 21p, and anything else is a huge bonus, especially given the fact that the wholesale prices are dropping so much.


News Jan 19, 2012 No Comments

With wholesaler prices dropping considerably of late, we have been working hard to find a cost-effective and environmentally friendly supplier to work with now we have our accreditation.  What we have found is probably the world’s most sustainable solar panels, constructed using re-manufactured European cells that were previously thought to be unusable. The patented laser based process restores the cells to within less than 1% of their original design specification, saving material from the waste stream.Very well made, entirely in Europe and at a very competitive price.


News Jan 19, 2012 No Comments

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published a ministerial statement confirming the new feed-in tariff rates for solar photovoltaics installations completed between December 12 and April 1, 2012. In a bid to provide certainty to the somewhat frustrated industry, Government has set out its ‘Plan B’ feed-in tariff proposal in the event that it loses its current court appeal.
Today, after calls from industry to bring some clarity to the situation, DECC is laying before Parliament some draft licence modifications which, subject to the Parliamentary process set out in the Energy Act 2008,  make provision for a the new rates to go through from April 1, 2012 with an eligibility date on or after 3 March. Therefore Retrofit and New Build tarrifs will be at 21p per unit.

We will of course update you as soon as we have any more information.

Government Appeal

News Jan 06, 2012 No Comments

The guidance below was provided by DECC which should help clarify the current situation…

Customers and potential customers need to be aware of the continuing uncertainty over the rates that will apply after 1 April to installations completed between 12 December and 1 April (NB they will receive 43p in any case until 1 April):

  • If the Government wins on appeal, we are where we were before legal action began, ie the Government will consider all responses to its consultation proposals, including the proposal that a domestic system (up to 4 kWh) can expect to earn 21p from 1st April 2012.
  • If the Government does not win on appeal, then the 43p tariff remains in place for all registered installations until the Parliamentary process has concluded (expected to be 1st April 2012, possibly earlier).

It is not yet clear if the Government will be granted leave to appeal, and if so what date the appeal would be heard.”

Once we hear more detailed information, we shall of course pas on that news.

Breaking News – High Court Rules That Goverment FIT Cuts Are ‘Legally Flawed’

News Dec 21, 2011 No Comments

Friends of the Earth, Homesun and Solarcentury’s appeal to the High Court over the Government’s handling of the feed-in tariff has ended in victory, as Mr Justice Mitting upheld the legal challenge, stating that it was “legally flawed”.

The court agreed that proposals to cut feed-in tariff payments for any solar scheme completed after December 12 – 11 days before the official consultation closed – were unlawful.

We shall make further posts once details are available.


Your Feedback

News Dec 07, 2011 4 Comments
Lots of happy customers…

Glass Half Full…

News Dec 07, 2011 No Comments

The Government reduction in the Feed-in Tariff isn’t necessarily all doom and gloom for homeowners. Falling installation costs mean even on the new tariff, homeowners should get a healthy return, and save money on their energy bills too. The net result is that whilst your installation will earn you less on the new proposed tariff from 12th December 2011, that reduction will be off-set by the reduction in your solar system installation costs. Return on investment figures will be between 5% and 10% on the new tariff with these new lower installation prices in mind. Perhaps more importantly, the feed-in tariff is still guaranteed for a 25 year period and during that time (and beyond) your installation will be saving you on your normal energy bills – bills that have already risen¬†¬†this year and despite promises of simplifying bills and energy tariffs, look likely to continue rising as resources get scarcer and wholesale prices rise.