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GOVERNMENT TO SLASH SUBSIDIES FOR LARGE SCALE SOLAR FARMS

The government has unveiled proposals to limit the subsidies paid to large solar farms from next April.

Large scale solar farms would no longer receive subsidies through the Renewables Obligation (RO) regime from April 2015, under controversial plans proposed by the government. The Department of Energy and Climate Change announced today that it planned to shut the RO to new large solar farms from April next year.

DECC said it was concerned that large solar farms would exceed their available budget under the RO, as the industry is deploying at a much faster rate than previously expected. According to Greg Barker, the energy minister, solar farms must not become the new onshore windand he calls for solar panels installed on factory rooftops instead.

Solar farm projects will still be eligible for support through a new regime. However, it is expected to be far more difficult for solar farms to gain funding under the new subsidy scheme. The new Contract for Difference (CfD) regime will have a capped budget and onshore wind and solar farm projects will be forced to compete with each other in reverse auctions to win subsidy contracts.

Leonie Greene, head of external affairs for the Solar Trade Association, said  that, on current costs, solar farms “can't compete with onshore wind”. The uncertainty in the auction process also made solar farm development too risky for the small businesses who typically build them.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has released that they want  “to move the emphasis for growth away from large solar farms.”They said: “Large-scale solar is deploying much faster than we expected. Industry projections indicate that, by 2017, there could be more solar deployed than is affordable – more than the 2.4-4GW set out in the electricity market reform (EMR) delivery plan”.

 

The gLAWcal Team

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

(Source: the Telegraph)