Tesco holds back on solar plans thanks to FiT review

In the wake of the Government’s decision to review the UK feed-in tariff, Tesco has reportedly put its solar installation plans on hold. The supermarket brand, which had planned to put rows of solar panels on several of its distribution centres, has apparently decided to stop all work on the projects after the Government this week failed to reassure a renewables industry shocked by its review of subsidies.

Tesco has approximately half a dozen 1MW solar PV arrays in the pipeline, which were to be installed on distribution centres across the country. By placing uncertainty around all projects over 50kW, the Government has made developers, such as Tesco, nervous.

A source close to the process said that the solar panels would have been completed in March 2012, and the supermarket had been due to go public with the plans in around two months.

Although the review seems to threaten all systems over 50kW, when speaking with the Department of Energy & Climate Change, SolarPowerPortal was told that it was really just ground-mounted projects that were being targeted.

“It is not our intention to place draconian limits on those projects above 50kW, particularly in relation to school and hospital schemes,” said Greg Barker, in an attempt to placate investors during Parliamentary questions.

“However, there is a real problem with large solar fields, and that is our primary focus,” he confirmed.

Despite these words of reassurance, leading figures in the industry remain deeply concerned about the destabilising effect of the review.

A Tesco's spokesperson denied the news, stating, "There is no truth in this story. We are still in the decision making process as to whether we will install solar panels at our distribution centres. We are fully committed to becoming a zero carbon business by 2050 and continue to invest in new environmental technologies."