The UK solar industry has given a mixed response to today’s confirmation of the Renewable Obligation Certificate bandings for solar until 2017.

Industry body the Solar Trade Association said the announcement by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today, which set a higher-than-expected ROC for ground-mounted PV systems in 2013 and outlined details of a new rooftop ROC category, contained “pros and cons”.

STA Chief Executive Paul Barwell said: “We are somewhat disappointed with the decision on the level of ground-mounted support for 2013.We brought DECC and the industry together to provide the data needed to make an evidence-based decision. But DECC has at least agreed an improvement on previous proposals and the degression rates are much more sensible.

“However, it means that solar deployment could be overly constrained when, even with a fraction more support, it would still be cheaper than many other low-carbon technologies. It is difficult to understand why the government is aiming for 'slow growth' in this cost-effective technology when we have a challenging renewable energy target to meet.

“Given how the RO has been set on the low side for solar, we will be pressing DECC and [energy regulator] Ofgem to act quickly to remove unfair barriers to solar power that impose unnecessary costs, such as timely grid connections. We are also keen to see action to support the stability of the ROC regime.”

On the new mid-size roof-mounted ROC band, Barwell said the STA would continue to make its argument that this segment of the market would be better supported with a feed-in tariff (FiT).

“We are pleased to see that our hard work on mid-scale roof-mounted solar has paid off as it has finally gained recognition from government. The STA has long argued this sub-sector needs greater support, and we will be looking at the economics of the 1.7 ROC level. The STA also recommends that this sector should be supported within the feed-in tariff, which is much more user-friendly for investors outside the power industry.”

Frans Van Den Heuvel, Chief Executive of UK Solarcentury, said:  “After the uncertainties of 2012, this is good news. We welcome the fact that the government has listened to the industry and that it is introducing new ROC rates that will enable us to grow with confidence in 2013/14. The new rates are tough but workable. Today's decisions means solar is still a good investment in the UK.”