UK energy system upgrade does not go far enough, says Solar Trade Association

The Solar Trade Association welcomed the announcement of battery storage and reviews to the rules making it easier for homes and businesses to install the technology alongside PV panels in the UK government’s planned upgrade of the energy system, but warned that these will enable only ‘modest progress’.

STA Policy Manager Chris Hewett said: “The solar industry in the UK is gearing up for the integration of PV panels and battery technology. Our research shows that a high penetration of batteries alongside solar power would reduce overall costs to the electricity system and allow the country to have cheap solar at the heart of its power system.

  “As with any innovative and disruptive technology, the policy and legal system is not set up to accommodate it, which means there are currently few markets for storage. If we want to take advantage of the potential of solar and storage then we need to get the rules right, and fast before innovation is stifled. Policy changes are needed to enable storage to work with solar at all scales.

  • Key changes welcomed by the STA are:
  • Government will legally define storage in primary legislation
  • Storage will be unbundled from network operators to allow competitive markets to develop
  • Progress should be coming from Ofgem shortly on a level playing field for storage in the capacity markets

However, for domestic solar & storage the STA said more action is needed:

  • VAT at 5%; there is currently confusion on VAT charging, with the risk of 20% charges
  • Clear and up-to-date consumer data to ensure accurate assessments of possible onsite consumption and storage
  • Type testing for small-scale batteries

For large-scale and business solar the STA also wants to see:

  • Fair business rate treatment for onsite storage
  • Access to markets rules need to change faster so that the role of storage in network management is unlocked in markets, including in grid deferment, capacity markets and balancing
  • Rapid resolution of the current double charging for storage
  • Planning issues for storage resolved

25 July 2017

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