Ahead of the closure of the UK’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme on 1 April 2019, installers up and down the country rushed to fit and accredit new solar systems, Solar Power Portal reports.
Figures for Q1 2019 reveal that almost 242.5MW of solar was installed in the three-month period, more than double the next highest quarter of deployment under the mechanism. That was back in Q4 of 2018, which saw 102.4MW of solar connected.
The residential 0-10kW band accounted for in excess of 75MW of the total figure for the quarter following 23,100 domestic installations, as per energy regular Ofcom’s data. The most productive source of FiT-accredited solar installations was the 50kW+ band, which registered more than 85MW worth of installations throughout January, February and March.
Despite the scheme’s late influx of installations, however, a significant quantity of capacity was left unused in two of the four deployment caps.
The two larger deployment bands – 50kW+ rooftops and standalone projects – both blew their deployment caps earlier on in the scheme but there remains almost 400MW of unused capacity sitting in the 0-10kW residential and 10-50kW small commercial rooftop bands.
Those companies whose installations have exceeded the capacity band will have to wait for the introduction of the next subsidy programme, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). As the SEG is still under government development, new installations will not receive any payment for surplus power exported to the grid.
Commenting on the ‘lean period’ between the two schemes, Frank Gordon, head of policy at the Renewable Energy Association said: “The closure of the FiT scheme and prolonged time gap between the introduction of the proposed Smart Export Guarantee is highly damaging to the solar PV industry.”
‘Working closely with our institutional investment partners has enabled us to be able to provide commercial and industrial customers with fully funded solar PV systems without any requirement for Government subsidy for some time now’ says Simon Booth, Director and Co-Founder of Zestec. ‘With the consistent upward movement in grid electricity tariffs being felt by so many of our customers, coupled with the reductions in the overall costs for installing solar PV, we are being able to provide significant reductions in electricity costs through our Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) scheme. And with the availability of variable lease durations, from 10-30 years, it really does mean customers have the ability to select a solution which will best meet the needs of their business’.
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