Opportunity for communities to extend Feed in Tariff eligibility
The Feed in Tariff closes on 31st March 2019, however community organisations can get a 12-month extension to this through a simple pre-registration process with Ofgem.
This is a great opportunity for small solar PV on buildings and we can help with advice and funding to help you secure the last of the Feed in Tariff.
Communities looking to install solar PV systems of 50kW or less can benefit from the Feed in Tariff pre-registration process in two ways.
- There is a 12-month period allowed between the date of pre-registration and confirming full accreditation through an electricity supplier. This means you can apply and then have a year to build and commission your project.
- Community owned projects with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of lower than D can receive the higher Feed in Tariff rate for PV.
Full accreditation must be in place within 1 year of the date of pre-registration. Communities will have 12 months to commission a system and still receive the January 2019 export and generation tariffs. These tariffs are then guaranteed for 20 years and rise annually with inflation, so the financial return is likely to be significantly better than developing projects without this support.
Pre-registering a building should be a simple process. An eligible community organisation just needs to complete a short application and submit the building’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and a reasonable estimate of the scale of installation. Pre-registration isn’t likely to be expensive to put in place and is low risk as there is no obligation to progress the project.
Pre-registration for the Feed in Tariff must be in place before the end of March 2019.
Support to secure pre-registration
We would encourage all community groups capable of pre-registration to progress this, as time is short. A desktop assessment is often all that is required to assess the scale of PV installation before pre-registration as a more detailed assessment would follow within the 12-month period allowed.
If you need support in working out the appropriate scale of an installation, getting an EPC or supplying the required information to Ofgem, we’re here to help. We can support eligible applicants looking to secure pre-registration through the CARES Enablement Grant and are happy to chat through the specifics of any request.
Contact us soon on 0808 808 2288 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Information for Local Authorities
Local authorities can also take advantage of pre-registration by partnering with a local community group, to easily secure the option of benefitting from the Feed in Tariff for one more year. This may be of particular interest for school buildings, as it is likely that an EPC is already available and that some assessment of the potential for PV installation has been carried out in the past. If not, this could be done quickly as a desktop exercise. The educational opportunities of renewable generation on schools are already well understood. We would urge local authorities and other school operators to seek local community organisations eligible to pre-register as many of your schools as possible.
Local authorities could also take advantage of pre-registration to support long term energy aspirations in other buildings within their estate. Local community organisations can pre-register any non-domestic building, as long as they will own the generation equipment. By hosting a community-owned installation on your building, you can benefit from low-cost generation and increased low-carbon credentials. This can work well, as shown by the Edinburgh Solar Co-op project where 23 community owned PV installations are hosted on Edinburgh City Council buildings. You’ll need to work in partnership with a community organisation to explore this, but there’s no binding obligation at this stage so the risk is low.
If you are interested in keeping this opportunity open on your estate, please get in touch with us as we are also contacting community organisations and could help put future partners together.
Additional Information for Communities
Community organisations can pre-register any non-domestic building as long as they will own the generation equipment. To pre-register a community owned non-domestic building, an eligible community applicant just needs to submit an Energy Performance Certificate (less than 10 years old) and an assessment of the size of system to be installed.
Community organisations can also pre-register buildings owned by other organisations. In this case, the community owns the generation equipment and gets the Feed in Tariff income. They can then offer the building owner/occupier the low cost electricity generated by the system. There is potential for Local Authority and community partnerships to follow the successful model of the Edinburgh Solar Co-op, where 23 Edinburgh City Council buildings are currently being been supplied by community owned PV installations.
We would encourage every community organisation interested in renewable energy to contact their Local Authority and discuss the potential to pre-register buildings. It’s also worth approaching other local building owners, as offering to pre-register a building carries no obligation but could keep the opportunity to provide low cost energy and community benefit open for the next 12 months.
Installing on more than one building will benefit from lower installation costs due to the economy of scale, so it’s worth securing several local buildings if possible. No obligation is implied at this stage, and it is realised that not all pre-registered projects will go ahead. Pre-registering several buildings keeps the door open for the best opportunities to progress over the next 12 months and go on to benefit from the Feed in Tariff.
Ofgem Guidance Documents