Take-up of commercial solar rooftop power continues to disappoint

Solar power roof

By DARA BUTTERFIELD

Commercial solar continues to underperform, according to the latest data from the Department of Energy (DECC).

The DECC has published its monthly statistics on how much solar is being deployed under the Feed-in Tariff and how that is going to affect tariff levels. Their data has shown only slight increase in deployment in domestic solar and relatively low deployment for commercial roofs.

The Solar Trade Association said that while it isn’t the success story they hoped for the small reductions in tariffs are becoming less and less important as tariffs come down. The DECC statistics show:

  • A very slight increase in deployment in the smallest systems, generally on domestic homes (0-10kW), triggering a small 3.5% reduction (or ‘degression’) in the tariffs. The 0-4kW tariff will now go from 12.92p to 12.60p from 1 October 2015.
  • An automatic 3.5% reduction in the tariff for slightly larger systems on schools, leisure centres and other similar sized buildings (10-50kW), but very little deployment. This will now go from 11.71p to 11.42p from 1 October 2015.
  • Relatively low deployment and no reduction in the tariff for large commercial solar roofs.
  • A small 3.5% reduction in the tariff for smaller ground mount solar farms (called ‘standalone’). This will now go from 4.44p to 4.33p from 1 October 2015.

The cost of solar has come down by about 70% over the last five years. Modelling by the Solar Trade Association published last month has shown that it could now only cost £1.70 extra on annual household bills to deliver over a million more solar homes and subsidy-free solar in 2020 with the domestic Feed-in Tariff.

David Pickup, Business Analyst, Solar Trade Association, commented: “As tariffs gradually come down a 3.5% reduction makes less and less of a difference to the actual tariffs. And as costs come down, along with tariffs, solar can provide more and more value for money green power.

“However what is clear is that commercial rooftop solar is not the success story we and the Government had hoped. In our Solar Independence Plan we recommend a number of ways to remove barriers to commercial deployment, including changes to the way the Feed-in Tariff is designed as well as to regulatory and administrative systems. It is vital that these are addressed by Government.

“To try and simplify this part of the market for businesses, the STA has published a Commercial Rooftop Solar Confidence Checklist, a non-technical checklist that any business that has a big roof space can use to guide them through the process of going solar and bringing down their energy bills.”

 

 

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