Feed in Tariff Pre-registration: FAQs

How can communities benefit from the last of the Feed in Tariff?

The Feed in Tariff closes on 31st March 2019, however community organisations can get a 12-month extension if they go through a simple pre-registration process with Ofgem. Local Energy Scotland can help with advice and funding to help secure the last of the Feed in Tariff to develop solar PV projects on:

  • Community buildings
  • Public sector or commercial sites where the community will own the PV system

Communities can pre-register up to 25 buildings and benefit from the maximum Feed in Tariff. Find out more about this opportunity here.

What do I need to do to pre-register a site?

To pre-register a site by the end of March, you need to provide Ofgem with:

  • The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the building concerned
  • A reasonable estimate of the scale of installation
  • A completed application - visit the Ofgem website and select MCS Community application 
  • Evidence of your community status 
  • MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number) 

What type of community organisations can benefit?

The Ofgem guidance states:

2.2. From 1 April 2015, a community organisation is defined in the FIT Order as: “any of the following which has 50 or fewer employees: a charity; a subsidiary, wholly owned by a charity; a community benefit or co-operative society; or a community interest company.”
2.13. Charities in Scotland are registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) as set out in section 106 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. The OSCR helps organisations that wish to be recognised as a charity. For further information, please see: www.oscr.org.uk/charities/becoming-a-charity

How do I get an Energy Performance Certificate? 

Projects can check the Scottish EPC Register (seems to work better in Chrome) to see if there is an EPC available. There are only 40,000 non domestic EPCs on the Scottish register so unless you’re working on a public building it’s likely there is not an EPC.

To find an EPC assessor communities can search the Scottish EPC register. Communities that have done this say getting an EPC costs around £250 per building but the complexity and size of the site will likely have an impact. Visit the register here (not in Internet Explorer) and search by postcode to get a list of assessors, including whether they can do non-domestic buildings.

What should we consider when identifying a site?

Communities should contact potential sites and capture information including address, contact, roof details, MPAN, EPC availability, ownership, lease details etc.
When considering sites to target, it’s important to focus on easy sites for the solar project. Things to look out for include:

  • Community group, public sector or local business user
  • High daytime use
  • Secure tenancy, easy landlord or owner-occupied
  • A nice big new south facing roof would be ideal
  • Obviously south facing is highest producing but SW/west facing roofs provide production when you need it and often when the sky is clearer
  • Suitable for a minimum 10kW with easy access. i.e not 5 storeys high and not at ground level for vandals. 30kW is excellent financially - a 30kW solar system would need 120 panels and take up 192m2 of roof

If it’s your own community building and you have a good roof you should consider pre-registering even for a smaller system (you get a lower FIT for projects under 10kW), particularly if you use the building in the day time.

Can we get help to progress this?

The team at Local Energy Scotland will help. If you have an EPC and it’s your building, we should be able to quickly help you pre-register the site. If you need to get an EPC or want to try and pre-register multiple buildings it might be worth applying for a CARES Enablement Grant. This can cover the likely costs of EPCs and potential local capacity to sign sites up. You need to be prepared to act quickly and give a few days of time to this, as the scheme closes to pre-register at the end March.

What financial and carbon savings might we achieve with a solar PV project?

An example summary for a small 10kW PV project might be:

  • 70% of the energy generated is used on site (and 30% is exported to the grid)
  • The site buys generated energy for 20% less than a standard electricity tariff
  • Installation costs for a 10kW system could be in the region of £9000
  • Simple payback would be in year 9
  • 20-year profit would over £15,500
  • Saving over £5,000 to the bill payer

The PV Partnership will save almost 30 tonnes CO2 over the lifetime of the project.

Notes: site standard tariff assumed to be 14.5p/kWh, buying generated energy at 11.6p/kWh, January 2019 FiT tariffs assumed.
For the carbon intensity of the grid electricity (0.203 kg CO2/kWh) ‘Green Book’ guidance has been used.

How do we go about signing buildings up to pre-register for PV installations?

You could use the text below as a starting point to communicate the offer.

The Feed in Tariff incentivises energy generated through renewables and closes on 31st March 2019. Registered community groups have a further 12 months to install solar on sites that are registered with Ofgem by 31st March 2019. Registering sites is simple but we need to act quickly to take advantage of this.

Building owners/users who get involved will help reduce carbon emissions, support local community projects and get a reduced rate for the electricity - we are aiming for this to be around a 20% reduction in your unit rate for energy generated through the solar panels.

There is no contractual commitment required at this point but to support the community we want to work with businesses and partners where projects have the best chance of progressing. We’ll do all the work to pre-register the building and sort out as much as possible.

As the building occupier you would need to:

  • Allow an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to be completed. We have funding for this and will organise for a registered assessor to produce the EPC but you need to give permission and be flexible to allow access for an assessor to complete the energy audit.
  • Provide your MPAN. MPAN is also called meter point number, supply number and is 21 digits long with an ‘S’ in front and appears on your bills. 
  • This isn’t essential, but if you know any details on the condition of the roof please let us know – for example any structural issues, age, access, materials.
  • Agree to review a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) where you will pay for the electricity generated at a reduced rate and a lease to allow us to install panels on the premises roof. This will happen after pre-registration.

After pre-registration we will survey your building to assess suitability for solar PV, but can't guarantee we will take a project forward.

Next steps

Find out about additional benefits for communities on the Ofgem website.

For help, contact Local Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2288.