Feed In Tariffs

Information on payments for renewable electricity in the UK. Infrequently updated

FAQs

What happens if I extend my system

In principle the extension is treated as a new system and registered separately.

BUT the tariff will be based on the combined capacity of the original system plus the extension.

The existing FITs registration on the original system will be unaffected.

There used to be concessions for extensions within 12 months of the original installation, but these have effectively been rescinded.

See more here.

What tariff will pre-accredited installations receive?

In general the tariff applicable when they applied for preliminary accreditation, but with one exception.

This from the Phase 2B review:

Once accredited, installations found to be eligible for preliminary accreditation, will receive the tariff that they would have received if they had accredited at the time they applied for preliminary accreditation. However, installations that are granted preliminary accreditation with an effective date in the period 1 January to 31 March each year will be eligible for the tariff that applies from the following April. Tariff lifetimes will apply from the eligibility date.

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.

When do the reduced PV tariffs apply?

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

However any installations after 3rd March 2012 will receive the existing tariffs only until 31st March 2012, whereafter they get the new reduced rate.

The government consultation (adjusted to reflect the new reference date after the legal challenges) would read:

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 3rd March 2012 (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.

Why do installations commissioned before 15th July 2009 not qualify for tariffs?

The 15th July was the date when the Renewable Energy Strategy was published, and at the time the Government announced it would be the cut-off date.

Chapter 3 of the government's RHI announcement says

We appreciate the arguments that individuals and organisations have presented for allowing installations complete before 15th July 2009 to receive support, in particular that it may discourage potential early adopters of future technologies and that the possible increase in the price of biomass caused by increased renewables take-up, may put them at a competitive disadvantage relative to those who will receive the RHI. However, given the current tight fiscal climate, the money available for the RHI must be used in the most effective way possible to help deliver new, additional renewable heat. The RHI is not a reward, it is an incentive to drive the uptake of new renewable heat; paying for something which had been installed prior to the RHI being announced would not be an effective use of public funds and cannot be justified.

It's probably of no comfort to anyone, but we think this was wrong.

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.

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.

Will grants have to be repaid?

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

However, for a long time it was believed many of the grants would have to repaid if a system is to be registered for the Tariffs.

It all depended 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 (BUT SEE BELOW!)
  • Energy Saving Scotland Home Renewables (formerly SCHRI): No need to repay

For many other grant schemes it is still 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!

Update on LCBP grants. In September, DECC made the following clarification on whether a LCBP2 grant needs repaying:

Final decisions on eligibility are the responsibility of Ofgem. Ofgem may not accredit for FITs any installation that has received a grant from a public body except in certain circumstances. These exemptions are:

i. Permitted grants (as specified in Article 8 of the Order) i.e. those made before 1st April 2010 in respect of the costs of:

  • an eligible installation commissioned before 15th July 2009; or
  • an eligible installation on a residential property commissioned between 15th July 2009 and 31st March 2010

ii. Those complying under de minimis regulation:

Recipients of publicly funded grants for a plant will be eligible for the FIT scheme for that plant without having to repay the moneys received if they are in compliance with the EU’s rules on de minimis aid - i.e. if they have not received support from public funds (including FITs payments) that would exceed thresholds specified in de minimis regulations (€200,000 over a period of three  years in most cases).

Note: this means that many generators who were previously expected to be ineligible for both FITs and grants e.g. under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) may now be eligible.

iii. Those who can demonstrate that a publicly funded grant is for justifiable non-standardised costs

Non-standardised costs are those additional costs incurred as a result of measures taken to reduce the environmental impact of an installation.
 

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).

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.

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.

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 more about the legislation for existing systems on our page about installation dates.

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 installed before 1st August 2012, where the period is 25 years. If the system doesn't last that long, of course it will stop producing kilowatt hours and no tariff will be paid.

Read detailed information on our page about durations and variations.

When do the Feed-In Tariffs start? Will my system qualify?

The Feed-In Tariffs came into force in April 2010. Any system installed after 15th July 2009 qualifies. Existing systems installed before this date will qualify only if they are under 50 kilowatts and registered for the Renewables Obligation.

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