Solar developers lacking in-house expertise post-regulatory upheaval

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Regulation changes are forcing solar developers to out-source staff needed to complete projects, says energy consultancy Roadnight Taylor.

The consultancy points to the introduction of Connection Offer Expenses in 2018 as being a barrier for energy scheme developers, including solar developers, to cost-effectively recruit, train and maintain the in-house expertise needed to complete projects.

It also cites the introduction of the Energy Networks Association G99 Engineering Recommendation standard in April, which it says has complicated the process of having a grid connection approved due to more specific technical information being required, as being a reason for more developers out-sourcing.

Roadnight Taylor says it has been approached by eight energy scheme developers in the span of two months looking for out-sourced expertise that would ordinarily be resourced in-house.

It also claims that the financial collapse of developers such as Lark Energy in 2017, which later renamed to Renewables Solar (UK) Limited, highlighted the risks association with high overheads, including staff costs.

Hugh Taylor, CEO of Roadnight Taylor, says developers are now looking to lower overheads and new developers are reluctant to commit to the cost of recruiting a full UK-based team.

“Many developers’ grid teams and grid consultants don’t have the necessary technical expertise, and as a result, cannot draw up valid connection application.

“Developers need in-depth grid expertise and technical, commercial and market knowledge and with recent market changes, many now realise they don’t have the in-house expertise they thought they had,” he added.