The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed that it will remove pre-accreditation for all new participants in the feed-in tariff system from 1 October 2015.
The government has confirmed that, following analysis of the 2,372 consultation responses received, that it will proceed with the implementation of the removal of pre-accreditation as the department set out initially, despite DECC confirming that “the majority of respondents were opposed to the proposed changes”.
The government claims that removing pre-accreditation gives the government better control over spending which is justified by the projected over-allocation of renewable energy subsidies under the levy control framework (LCF).
Energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd defended the department’s decision, stating that the move is necessary to lower costs to consumers. She said: “My priorities are clear: we need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.
“Our support has already driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies, which is why we’re taking action to protect consumers, whilst also protecting existing investment.”
However, DECC has said that this decision is subject to the outcome of the ongoing feed-in tariff consultation. The department notes that its proposed introduction of deployment caps would allow it to control costs and so therefore it would “consider reintroducing pre-accreditation” either for all groups or select ones.
DECC explains that its decision to remove pre-accreditation has been motivated by a desire to “limit the value of the deployment surge in response to tariff reductions”. DECC warns that its “decision to continue with the FiT scheme will be based partly around affordability criteria, including how far deployment that happens whilst the scheme is under review impacts on future available budget”.
Given the scale and speed of the proposed FiT cuts for 1 January 2016 and the upcoming drop in tariffs for solar on 1 October 2015, there could be a substantial amount of capacity installed by the UK solar industry – something that could ultimately threaten the entire FiT scheme.
Reacting to the announcement, Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association said: “Just 16 out of 2372 respondents supported the proposal to do away with pre-accreditation, and yet the government has gone ahead and done it anyway. They have simply ignored the overwhelming opposition from across the renewables industry and beyond.
“Renewables and solar are all about giving power to the people – this is going in the opposite direction. This removal of pre-accreditation and the devastating cuts to tariffs are both going against the tide of public opinion where 80% of people support solar power, more than any other technology.”
DECC’s full consultation response can be viewed here.