DECC considering higher RO banding for roof-mounted solar

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is considering introducing a new, higher Renewable Obligation (RO) band for roof-mounted solar.

Solar Power Portal understands that DECC is contemplating the move after a number of responses to the RO consultation expressed concerns that the 250kW-5MW solar market under a FiT rate of 7.1p/kWh has been brought to a standstill. As a result, setting the RO rate with the proposed FiT equivalency methodology would render the onsite mid-scale solar market severely under supported.

One such response was that of the Solar Trade Association (STA); the trade body pointed out that the cost models for onsite mid-scale solar and large-scale utility solar are significantly different. As all of the questions in the consultation were addressed at the 5MW+ market, the STA said DECC needed to act to stop mid-sized schemes falling through the policy gaps.

The STA has been vocal in its recommendation that the FiT mechanism is the most suitable to support the faltering 250kW-5MW market. However, in order to address the problem now, DECC could introduce a separate RO band for ground-mounted solar and a higher band for rooftop-mounted solar, Solar Power Portal has learned.

If DECC were to introduce a higher roof-mounted RO rate it would go some way to reassuring industry that DECC has undertaken a meaningful consultation and is actively looking at ways to support solar development in the UK.  

Industry is still waiting for DECC to announce the results of its consultation over the RO rates for solar going through to 2017. It has been 55 days since the consultation closed and the announcement has apparently been delayed a number of times. Solar Power Portal understands the solar RO announcement is likely to be made some time next week as the House of Commons rises for its Christmas recess on December 20.

What are you thoughts on the potential introduction of a higher RO band for roof-mounted projects? Are you concerned about the lack of announcement over solar RO support? Let us know in the comments below.