Europe, On Site Power, Solar

Feed-in tariffs for microgeneration reach the UK

1 February 2010 – UK householders and communities that install low-carbon distributed generation technology such as micro-CHP systems, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and wind turbines up to 5 MW in size will be entitled to claim payments for the electricity they produce, even if they use it themselves, from April.
 
The UK’s long-awaited ‘feed-in tariffs’ arrived in an announcement by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) which also named the initiative the Clean Energy Cashback Scheme.
 
The level of payment, which vary from 4.5 to 41 p/kWh, depends on the technology and is linked to inflation, said DECC. Generators will receive additional payments for electricity they feed into the grid. Payments will be made for periods between 10 and 25 years. A typical, 2.5 kW well-sited solar PV installation could offer a homeowner a reward of up to £900 per annum and save them £140 per year on the electricity bill, says DECC.
 
The rate for micro-CHP systems, which have to have an output below 2 kW, is 10 p/kWh. The tariff is available for the first 30,000 micro-CHP installations and a review will take place when 12,000 have been installed.
 
Developer of trade association Fuel Cells UK welcomed the announcement as a critical first step in enabling fuel cells to realize their potential to provide low carbon, high efficiency heat and power to homes. However, Dennis Hayter, Chair of Fuel Cells UK said: ‘Whilst the commitment to support systems up to 2 kW is very welcome, we are disappointed that larger-scale CHP and electricity-only fuel cells are not covered. We would like to see the upper limit for fuel cell installations (whether fuelled by fossil or by renewable fuels) set at 5 MW to encompass the larger systems which are commercially available today.’