Third-party investors are still interested in helping Doncaster City Council deploy thousands of rooftop installations, but the council has admitted that further reductions to the feed-in tariff will have an impact on the future of the scheme.

Last week the council outlined plans to install rooftop solar systems on as many as 6,000 council-owned homes in order to combat fuel poverty in the area and help raise finances.

An initial tranche of 279 installations has already been green-lit with a £1.2 million investment from the council’s Housing Revenue Account and it now hopes to have these completed no later than January next year, in time to qualify for the 1 October or 1 January feed-in tariff qualification windows set out by Ofgem.

However the Department for Energy and Climate Change is preparing to launch a wider review of the feed-in tariff and warned that cost-cutting measures could be undertaken with average returns on investment said to have ballooned to as much as 12% as the cost of components has fallen quicker than the feed-in tariff has degressed.

It is expected that DECC will look to reduce the feed-in tariff to bring it back in line with the 5-8% returns originally forecasted by the department and Richard Smith, energy manager at Doncaster Council, warned that significant reductions are likely to have an impact on the future of the wider roll-out scheme in Doncaster.

“Of course the continued reduction in feed-in tariff will impact on the scale, or even if any scheme goes ahead. The council is very aware of the timescales associated with the contracting and delivery of a large-scale solar scheme, not to mention grid connectivity. The sooner a scheme can be deployed, the better,” Smith added.

The council is now preparing decisions on the next phase of the solar scheme to be made in the coming weeks, and Smith said the council had been in touch with third parties who could help finance the project. “Third party investors are still active in the domestic solar market and the council will be discussing the options to deploy a large scale scheme with those investors,” he said.

Yesterday the chief executive of investment giant Legal & General reiterated the company’s commitment to the UK renewables sector and said it intended to make “direct investments” into renewable and clean energy projects in the future.