Until recent clarification issued by DECC, many schools and community groups had been told that they could not claim feed-in tariffs unless the grants received under the Low Carbon Building Programme were paid back.
“This was devastating news for many organisations who had fundraised to install microgeneration equipment such as solar panels or wind turbines, and then found that the rules had changed, and the calculations they had made before investing no longer held true,” says Cathy Debenham, Founder of YouGen.
Now it has been made clear that whether the grant must be paid back or not depends on the size of the installation and the size of the grant. If the projected total income from the grant plus the feed-in tariff comes to less than the 'de minimis' threshold of €200,000 in a three year period then there is no need to pay back the grant.
The only group now left waiting to hear their fate under the feed-in tariff are the early adopters who installed their microgeneration before the cut off date of 15 July 2009, and therefore receive a much lower rate of feed-in tariff as a result.
Interestingly, prior to the election the Conservatives promised to pay microgeneration pioneers the same rate as new installers, but have not acted on this to date.