Feed-In Tariffs

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When do they start? Will my system qualify?

The F I Tariffs are due to come into force in April 2010 (see here). All eligible systems installed from then on will qualify. So will any new systems installed after 15th July 2009 (though they only get tariffs from April 2010). Existing systems installed before this date will qualify only if they are under 50 kilowatts and registered for the Renewables Obligation.

How do they define the installation date?

The consultation document says “installation completed”. We believe this should therefore be the latest date that the installation was installed and commissioned

In the case of grid-connected electrical systems it could reasonably be the date it first delivered power to the grid.

In the case of systems registered for the Renewables Obligation, assume that installation must have been completed by the date of RO accreditation.

I have just installed / am about to install a system – will it qualify?

New systems where the installation was completed after 15th July 2009 will qualify.

What is the ‘interim period’?

It’s the time between 15th July 2009 and the start of the tariffs in April 2010 (for electricity) or April 2011 (for heat).

Will grants have to be repaid

The tariffs are available to all energy systems, whether they have received grants or not.

However, some grant schemes require that any grant is repaid if a system is registered for the Tariffs.

It all depends on the grant scheme:

  • LCBP Low Carbon Buildings Programme – householders (Stream 1): No need to repay
  • LCBP Low Carbon Buildings Programme – commercial (Stream 2): Yes – must repay
  • Energy Saving Scotland Home Renewables (formerly SCHRI): No need to repay

For many other grant schemes it is unclear if grants need to be repaid, including

  • RDPE, the Rural Development Programme for England
  • YESS, the Young Entrant Support Scheme in Wales
  • SRDP, the Scottish Rural Development Programme – Scottish Government currently awaiting clarification from DECC and OFGEM. Final decision expected by end of May

For these schemes, it will be best to ask the grant administrators. If you get a definitive answer, please let us know!

What are the arrangements for systems already registered for the RO and wanting to transfer to FITs?

Systems under 50kW and registered for the RO must transfer to the FITs as shown here.

Systems between 50KW and 5MW have the choice of whether they convert.

Systems above 5MW cannot transfer – they have to stay in the Renewable Obligation.

When do the reduced PV tariffs apply?

The tariffs apply immediately to all installations registered after 31st March 2012.

However any installations after 12th December 2011 will receive the existing tariffs only until 31st March 2012, whereafter they get the new reduced rate.

The government consultation said:

44. The new tariffs will come into force from 1 April 2012 but will apply from that date to all new PV installations with an eligibility date of on or after 12 December 2011 (the ‘reference date’). Existing generators with an eligibility date before the reference date will not be affected by the proposed change in tariffs.

45. The effect of this is that, depending on the result of the consultation, installations with an eligibility date that falls between the reference date and 31 March 2012 will receive the current tariff for that period only, and will then move to the new tariff from 1 April 2012. Those installations with an eligibility date on or after 1 April 2012 will start immediately on the new tariff.

When does the Feed-in Tariff scheme end? I heard it is April 2015?

The government’s “annual budgets” for the Feed-in Tariff scheme have only been set until 2015.  However, the scheme is intended to be kept open to new entrants until 31 March 2021.

Will my existing renewable electricity system qualify?

Existing systems installed before 15th July will qualify only if they are under 50 kilowatts and registered for the Renewables Obligation (RO) see here.

How long would I get this tariff for?

The Feed-In Tariffs will be paid for a period of 20 years from the date the system is first registered, except for solar photovoltaic systems where the period is 25 years see here. If the system doesn’t last that long, of course it will stop producing kilowatt hours and no tariff will be paid.