For local communities looking to access community generation schemes, the government has launched further support for renewable developments.
It has been proposed that large solar PV arrays of up to 10GW in capacity could be eligible to gain money through the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme.
The news has emerged shortly after the government confirmed that some £15 million in funding will be set aside for community energy schemes, with money available for feasibility assessments and to put towards the costs associated with planning permission.
According to a new draft publication from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), offices and schools with solar arrays, as well as wind turbines and hydro power schemes, could all benefit from profits generated by feeding energy back to the National Grid.
While support is available for community schemes of over 5MW in capacity under the Renewables Obligation programme (RO), the government has taken heed of responses from community group feedback to improve the possibilities and scope for renewable projects under the feed-in tariff.
As it currently stands, the DECC is expected to offer community projects a choice between the RO and FiTs when they undertake a new project.
Greg Barker, energy and climate change minister, said that the changes to the FiT threshold will help increase the uptake of community projects and renewable technologies.
“The coalition is determined to drive a step change in the deployment of community energy,” he added.
“We want to help consumers, businesses and communities generate more of their own clean, green electricity locally, becoming less reliant on centralised power generation. The expansion of our reformed feed-in tariff will encourage even more communities to get on board.”
Under the scheme, communities will not only be able to reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced in the local area, a number of residents could also benefit from smaller energy bills.
Furthermore, money gained from the FiT can be put back into the community for a number of vital facilities and programmes.