The so-called ‘hyperdegression’ of the stand-alone FiT rate threatens the future of the UK’s split commercial and community solar schemes and needs to be amended as a matter of urgency, Community Energy England chairman Philip Wolfe has said.
Statistics released by the Department for Energy and Climate Change yesterday revealed that 98.18MW of stand-alone solar capacity has been installed under the feed-in tariff to date, triggering a 28% degression on the current 6.16p/kWh rate which is to come into effect on 1 July.
The degression would see the FiT rate for stand-alone projects fall to 4.43p/kWh and speaking to Solar Power Portal on Friday, Wolfe said such a degression is enough to “stop community schemes in their tracks”.
“We were pleased at DECC’s initiative in coming up with the 5+5MW community FiT earlier this year, but we told them at the time that the degression triggers would need to be adjusted to prevent this price collapse.
“It was all too predictable. What they need to do is adjust the degression triggers to allow a sensible volume of these schemes through,” Wolfe said.
He said that “around a few hundred megawatts” would need to be allowed through considering the community schemes are legislated for up to 10MW, but added that an alternative option would be to create a separate degression band altogether.
“The other thing they could do is create an additional degression band specifically for these community schemes so they have a protected volume, and arguably that would be the absolute best thing to do rather than just band them together by capacity,” he added.
Yesterday Solar Trade Association chief executive Paul Barwell said the degression would be a “let down” for community groups that the solar industry had sought to work with, while UK Solar’s Ray Noble said it would result in another rush for projects to be accredited prior to the 1 July FiTs deadline.