Prior to the election, the solar industry had a keen eye on each parties manifesto to see how renewables would fit on their agenda. Some of the parties pledged to offer continued support to our industry, where others (UKIP) were openly honest about their intentions to drop the renewables baton in the short term in favour of alternative fuels and abolish the DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change).
With the Conservatives party now back in power, it was noted that their pre-election manifesto didn’t give us any indication to their plans for solar (or renewables in general), however, they have since publicly announced their continued support for the industry.
With the DECC very much initiated by the Liberal Democrats, there were rumours that the department would be disbanded with a single power Government now in charge, however, the appointment (and promotion) of Amber Rudd to Secretary of State signals the Conservatives intentions to keep the DECC in place. This move has been welcomed by the solar industry and has promoted confidence to renewable installers all over the UK.
Almost immediately, Amber Rudd gave us sight of her intentions by announcing she wanted to “unleash a new solar revolution” with particular focus on commercial rooftops. The feed-in tariff, a subsidy introduced by DECC to support the uptake of solar, is also set to be reviewed, however it is yet unclear if and when this may change.
Earlier this year, the DECC introduced a welcome adjustment to the feed-in tariff that allows businesses with rooftop solar installations greater than 50 kWp to bring their solar PV system to their new premises if they move and continue to claim the feed-in tariff payments. Under current legislation, businesses aren’t allowed to do this, however, this new rule – allowing investment in solar to be more flexible – won’t come into effect until 2019.
In April this year, the DECC released figures that the UK’s installed solar PV capacity was just over 5.7GW. Furthermore, the amount of electricity generated by renewables in 2014 (64,404 GWh) was 20% higher than that generated in 2013 (53,667 GWh).