The UK government aims to cut its solar feed-in tariff (FiT) by as much as 55 per cent from April next year.
Feed-in tariffs are to be scaled back by between 51.5 per cent and 55 per cent – depending on capacity – for projects installed from 12 December, said an emailed statement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
DECC is reacting to “plummeting costs”, added the statement.
The new rates come into effect in April. Existing plants and those built before the date will get current rates for 25 years.
“Urgent action is needed to put the solar industry on a steadier, clearer and sustainable growth path, avoid boom and bust and protect the feed-in tariff scheme,” said Energy Minister Greg Barker in the statement on 31 October.
“The plummeting costs of solar means we’ve got no option but to act so we stay within budget and not threaten the whole viability of the scheme.”
France, Germany and Italy have already cut incentives to limit costs for consumers. Britain has installed more than 100,000 solar farms totalling 400 MW since the programme started in April 2010.
But the average cost for an array of solar panels in the UK has dropped by at least 30 per cent since then, according to DECC.
DECC has released a consultation document detailing the proposed new rates and is inviting comment from the industry. It proposes to cut incentives for residential projects with less than 4 kW by 51.5 per cent to 21 pence (34 US cents). Plants of 4–10 kW will receive 16.8 pence (down 53 per cent). Plants of 10–50 kW will qualify for 15.2 pence (down 55 per cent).
Incentives for larger plants have already been scaled back in an emergency review in May and are now set for a smaller reduction.
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