The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed that it will extend the grace period for solar projects when the renewable obligation (RO) scheme is scrapped for projects over 5MW in April 2015.  

The department says that the extended grace period will provide extra time for accreditation in cases where grid delays cause the project to miss the 31 March 2015 deadline. The move follows feedback from the industry, with 98% of responses to the government’s consultation on the subject stating their support for a grid delay grace period.

Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association welcomed the news, saying that the move “will allow solar farms to continue to get funding from the RO when, through no fault of their own, there has been a delay connecting to the grid.”

DECC states that projects qualifying for the extended grace period will have to commission and have accreditation on or before 31 March 2016.

Three pieces of evidence will be required to qualify for the grace period, namely:

  • A grid connection agreement consisting of: a grid connection offer; acceptance of that offer; and a document from the network operator which estimated or set a date no later than 31 March 2015 for delivery of the connection.

  • A written declaration by the generator that to the best of their knowledge, the generating station would have been commissioned on or before 31 March 2015 if the connection had been made on or before the estimated grid connection date.

  • A letter or email from the network operator confirming that the grid connection was made after the estimated grid connection date; and that in the network operator’s opinion, the failure to make the grid connection on or before the estimated grid connection date was not due to any breach of the grid connection agreement by the generator/developer.

DECC's full response to its further consultation on changes to financial support for solar PV can be viewed here.