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UK solar farm feed-in tariffs under review

The UK has begun a review of the feed-in tariff scheme for solar power following evidence that large-scale solar farms may affect the amount of money intended to help homes and small businesses generate their own electricity.

By Micaela Tuckwell

Since the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) introduced feed-in tariffs last year, more than 21,000 installations have been registered, the majority being domestic installations including solar panels, wind turbines and microhydro plants.

However as an increasing number of large-scale solar farms make use of the feed-in tariffs, fears that this could push the feed-in tariff scheme’s costs off track, as well as divert potential investors has led to a review.

Energy Secratary Chris Huhne says: “Large-scale solar installations weren’t anticipated under the FITs scheme we inherited and I’m concerned this could mean that money meant for people who want to produce their own green electricity has the potential to be directed towards large scale commercial solar projects.”

The review will fast track consideration of large scale solar projects (over 50 kW) with a view to making any resulting changes to the feed-in tariff as soon as practical (subject to consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny as required by the Energy Act 2008.)

The feed-in tariff review will be completed by the end of the year, with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012. Any changes shall only affect new entrants into the feed-in tariff scheme.

See industry reactions: UK feed-in tariff review “bad news for PV”.

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Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity