Various solar developers and asset management firms have said that the UK government’s decision to scrap their exemption from the Climate Change Levy will have lasting effects on net asset value and revenues.
Chancellor George Osborne made the announcement within his summer budget earlier this week, meaning that companies generating electricity using renewable means are no longer exempt from paying the CCL, meaning firms will now be paying a tax of 0.541p per kWh on the energy they generate. This will increase to 0.559p on 1 April next year.
Since Wednesday a number of companies have issued statements attesting to the losses they will feel, including utility Good Energy and asset management funds Bluefield Solar Income Fund (BSIF) and Next Energy Solar Fund (NESF).
In a statement to investors yesterday, BSIF said that a review of the company’s portfolio conducted by its investment adviser Bluefield Partners LLP revealed that the loss of Levy Exemption Certificates under the scheme would see revenues fall by between 3 and 4%.
A further review of the effect on BSIF’s portfolio ended 30 June 2015 is to be undertaken by an independent party, the results of which are to be published in its full-year accounts.
While the company said the impact of the loss will be partially offset by a reduction in corporation tax, Bluefield Solar’s share price dipped 3% in the immediate aftermath of the announcement.
NESF said a preliminary investigation found that its net asset value would fall by approximately 2%, but also confirmed it still intended to meet its second interim dividend payment of 2.652p per share which is to be paid at the end of this month.
Good Energy meanwhile said that while an initial assessment suggested there would be no “significant impact” on its own funding portfolio as a result of the removal, the company would need to see more details of the measure in order to “assess the full impact”.
The exemption is to be removed as of 1 August and the criticism has shown no signs of abating in the passing days as Friends of the Earth campaigner Alasdair Cameron said the cut was “like making apple juice pay an alcohol tax”.
The group also pointed out that many other renewable firms suffered similar drops in their share price in the wake of the announcement, including wind farm operator Infinis which fell 8% to a new record low.
However David Casale of merchant banking firm Turquoise said the CCL exemption was a subsidy the industry needed to be “weaned off” and welcomed the decision.
“As an energy professional of some thirty years, I noted an audible groan every time CCL was discussed; who benefitted, how was it valued and marketed, when would it end – to mention but a few questions. You only have to look at Ofgem’s bungled attempt to define a ‘Green Tariff’ to see just how complicated the industry structure has become.
“Going forwards we need consumers on our side, firm in their support for a move away from polluting fuels to low carbon ones. What’s more, we must be willing to pay the necessary costs of this and secure in the knowledge that there are no hidden schemes. CCL is such a scheme and I for one say good riddance,” he said.