Moving? Your solar can move with you

deccBusinesses and factories will be able to take their solar panels with them when they relocate, allowing them to continue to reap the benefits of lower bills under proposed changes planned by government.

In a consultation launched last week, the government is seeking views on removing a barrier for building-mounted solar PV by allowing medium and large installations to be moved between buildings without loss of Feed-in Tariff (FIT) payments.

With an estimated 250,000 hectares of south facing commercial rooftops – the equivalent of 350,000 football pitches – there is massive potential in the UK to turn our buildings into power stations, helping to cut energy bills, reduce pressure on the grid and create jobs.

Launching the consultation, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy, Amber Rudd, said: “Around 900 businesses already use solar PV – but I want to see more generating their own electricity.

“There’s potential for significant growth in this area, so it’s vital that we remove the barriers which prevent businesses from benefiting.

“If there’s more rooftop solar we’ll see job creation as well as helping us deliver the clean, reliable energy supplies that the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers.”

Solar increasingly offers efficient and cost effective onsite generation opportunities to both businesses and domestic consumers.

At the moment if a FIT accredited installation is moved it becomes ineligible for further support. This can act as a significant deterrent to landlords and tenants who cannot guarantee to have the long-term ownership or lease of a building.

Allowing the panels and the tariff to move with their owner will increase flexibility and make solar PV a much more attractive investment.

The definition of building-mounted solar under the FIT will be amended to require the building to use at least ten per cent of the electricity generated. In addition, Department of Energy and Climate Control is introducing a 12 month grid delay grace period for solar PV projects when the Renewable Obligation closes to 5MW plus schemes. This will provide extra time for accreditation in cases where grid delays cause the project to miss the March 31, 2015, closure date.

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