Feed In Tariffs

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

FAQs

What is a community energy project?

It is an energy project undertaken by one of the following:

  • a community interest company (CIC);
  • a co-operative society; or
  • a community benefit society

The government has further restricted the definition in the case of FITs:

To be defined as a community energy project within the FITs scheme, eligible entities must have no more than 50 employees

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.

What are the pre-requisites for preliminary accreditation?

In addition to being in one of the appropriate tariff bands, projects must establish that they are likely to get built by having:

  • planning approval

  • evidence of acceptance of a firm grid connection offer, if a grid connection is needed; and

  • for hydro installations: relevant environmental permits from the Environment Agency or Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

What is the definition of a ‘site’?

This is not specifically defined in the legislation, so Ofgem's guidance notes say how it will make the assessment:

The site where eligible installations or accredited FIT installations are situated in close geographical proximity to each other is determined with reference to:

  • The relevant Metering Point Administration Number (MPAN)
  • Installation location address (including post code), and/or
  • Installation location Ordnance Survey (OS) grid reference
  • Any other factors that Ofgem considers relevant. For example, we would also consider the planning situation and any electrical or mechanical interactions between the Installations.

Some specific instances were addressed in the 2011/12 review.

How has the definition of site changed following the 2011/12 review?

The fundamental definition remains unchanged, but government says it intends to clarify that:

  • several installations e.g. wind turbines or solar panels at a single location are not treated as separate sites because they register separate MPANs;

  • separate residential units on a private wire network (i.e. park homes) are treated as separate sites; and

  • hydro installations that are physically separate are not treated as a single site because of DNO constraints that do not allow them separate connections.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is issued by a qualified assessor to show how energy efficient a building is. It shows the result with a rating between A and G, where A is the most efficient.

Further details are available here.

What is the REAL Code?

It is a code of conduct developed and monitored by Renewable Energy Assurance Limited, setting out good practice, which suppliers should follow when selling renewable energy systems.

Suppliers registered under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme must follow the REAL Code (or an equivalent). Because the MCS is a pre-requisite for systems up to 50kWe, or 45kWth under the Renewable Heat Incentive, suppliers of such systems should be registered under the REAL Code.

What if I own more than one installation - will I be paid less?

Not unless you are in receipt of tariffs for more than 25 solar PV installations.  If that is the case, you will receive a lower tariff.  These lower tariffs are in the third column of the table linked here, and described in the footnotes to this table.

Does my property need to have a certain level of energy efficiency to be eligible?

Yes - but for solar PV systems only.  From 1 April 2012, the property to which your solar PV system is electrically connected (or attached) must have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of D or better.

What is meant by ‘aggregated projects’ to which the ‘multi-installation’ tariffs would apply?

It's basically where the same tariff beneficiary has more than one tariff-registered installation.

Paragraph 51 of the government consultation said it:

would apply to any solar PV installation where the FIT generator or nominated recipient already owns or receives FITs payments from one or more other PV installations, located on different sites. Specifically, we propose that the multi-installation rate would apply:-

(i) if the FIT generator (whether or not the person in receipt of FIT payments) is either the FIT generator or the nominated recipient for FIT payments for any other solar PV installation; and

(ii) if the nominated recipient for FIT payments (where there is one) is either the FIT generator or the nominated recipient for FIT payments for any other installation.

What is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)?

It is a nominally industry-led scheme to provide quality assurance for microgeneration products and installations.

Both the Feed-In Tariffs (for systems below 50kW) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (for systems below 45kWth) require that that the major equipment is product-certified and that the installers is accredited.

For MCS-accredited products see here. For accredited installers see here or, because they also have to be accredited under the REAL code,  here.

How do I claim FITs if my system is DC?

In principle off-grid systems generating DC are eligible for FITs, but there's a major catch.

To benefit from the FITs you need to measure your system's output with an 'eligible' meter - and we don't believe any DC meters have yet been approved. 

Is it true, local councils are banned from selling electricity?

Yes it was, under the 1976 Local Government Act. However, DECC reversed this law in August 2010.

Do I get FITs if I install a new system on an old RO site?

We believed so, but we asked Ofgem, just to be sure.

They confirmed:

The FITs Order does not discuss the building of new generating stations on the site of a previous station. Part 4 of the Order does however discuss extensions to accreditations. Assuming that the installation is completely new and not an extension to the previous generating station and that it does not utilise any residual apparatus from the previous generating station, it is unlikely that positioning a station on the site of a previous generating station would affect the eligibility of the station for FITs or that previous RO accreditation would have an impact.

Does the system have to be installed by an MCS certified installer?

Yes, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) must be used for smaller systems:

Any system under 50kW (electrical) or 45kW (thermal) must be installed by an MCS-accredited installer to be eligible for the tariffs.

One of the requirements which the installer will have to meet is to ensure that major items of renewable energy equipment are also MCS-certified.

Is there a list of approved manufacturers of equipment?

For systems below 50kW, they will have to be accredited under the MicroGeneration Certification Scheme (see www.microgenerationcertification.org).

Larger systems have to be accredited through the ROO-FIT process, but there are no specific product requirements. 

If you aren’t connected to the grid, would you still receive the production aspect of the tariffs?

Yes, you will get the standard generation tariff, but can't get the extra 3p export tariff. We believe it'll still be an attractive proposition in most cases, because the avoided costs off-grid are generally higher (diesel gensets etc.).

However, if your system is DC, there's a major catch.

Would we be able to apply for feed-in tariffs if we are not connected to grid?

FITs are payable for off-grid applications (though they obviously can't get the export bonus)... and we're a bit proud, because our managing director Philip Wolfe was instrumental in ensuring that they are.

However, if your system is DC, there's a major catch.

Are there any other restrictions to FITs?

The main criteria are the size and type of renewable energy, and its installation date.

Systems will also have to be installed to prescribed quality standards in order to qualify.

What is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)?

The MCS is a scheme to provide assurance to customers for domestic scale generation systems. It provides both for accreditation of installers and certification of products. For more information visit the MCS website.

It is also linked to the Renewable Energy Assurance Scheme (REAL Assurance), which provides protection against mis-selling and for other aspects of the system supply contract. For more information visit the REAL Assurance website.

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