Originally published 15 February 2011

Following the Government's announcement on 7 February 2011 of its intention to review the feed in tariff (FIT) and to fast track the review for anaerobic digestion and large scale solar PV projects (over 50kW), Eversheds has sought clarity from the Department of Energy and Climate Control (DECC) as to whether roof-top solar PV projects are included in the fast track review.

Uncertainty had arisen in respect of roof-top solar PV schemes because, whilst individual roof schemes are unlikely to exceed the 50kW threshold, on an aggregated basis such projects would go beyond the 50kW threshold. The latter conclusion would result in roof-top solar PV schemes being subject to the accelerated FIT review.

Eversheds has been liaising directly with DECC and it has specifically directed us to the below statement which, it states, is given with the intent to provide reassurance in respect of roof-top solar PV and indicates that a review of roof-top solar PV schemes is not intended in the fast track review:

"10 Feb 2011 : Column 441W

Solar Power: Feed-in Tariffs

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether solar photovoltaics installed in social housing will be covered by the first review of the feed-in tariffs scheme. [39759]

Gregory Barker: The comprehensive review of Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) announced on 7 February 2011 will consider all aspects of the FITs scheme, including photovoltaics for all bands and applications, including social housing. It will report before the end of this year for implementation in April 2012. The review will also include specific fast-track consideration of large-scale solar photovoltaic installations of more than 50 kW and fast-track consideration of farm based Anaerobic Digestion.

The starting point for determining whether an installation would fall above or below 50 kW threshold is the existing FITs legislation. On this basis, the review of tariffs for installations below 50 kW would not be 10 Feb 2011 : Column 442W fast-tracked. This is regardless of whether they are installed on private housing or social housing.

The Government fully supports "rent roof" models (third party ownership financial packages), especially in the context of opening up the benefits of FITs to those living in social housing. However, the effectiveness and costs of all elements of the FITs scheme will be considered as part of the comprehensive review which will be tasked with improving the scheme to deliver both greater long term certainty to industry and investors and also deliver value for money to consumers."

Based on Gregory Barker's reply and provided this view remains consistent, roof-top solar PV projects will not be the subject of the fast track review which will come into effect in July 2011. Of course, roof-top solar PV projects will be subject to the overall FIT review which will be reported on at the end of the year and is currently due for implementation in April 2012. Hopefully the consultation paper due to be issued by DECC will clarify the position.

If you require any further information or advice, please contact:

Michelle Thomas
Partner, Head of clean energy and sustainability
Tel: 0845 498 7553

Stephen Hill
Tel: 0845 497 7572