A Renewable Obligation (RO) band will be introduced for those who use solar energy, under new plans announced by the government.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has introduced the new band, which is expected to go a long way to support those who have solar panels installed.

A report published by Solar Power Portal revealed that the band will be created following a number of responses to the RO consultation, which expressed concerns that the 250kW-5MW solar market under a FiT rate of 7.1p/kWh has been brought to a standstill.

As a result, setting the RO rate with the proposed FiT equivalency methodology would render the onsite mid-scale solar market severely under supported.

But Solar Trade Association (STA), a trade body, has said that these measures do not go far enough. They said that the cost models for onsite mid-scale solar and large-scale utility solar are significantly different. They also claimed that the government needs to do more to prevent mid-sized schemes falling through the policy gaps.

One recommendation suggested by STA is that in order to address the problem immediately, the DECC could introduce a separate RO band for ground-mounted solar and a higher band for rooftop-mounted solar.

The DECC is due to announce the results of its consultation over the RO rates for solar going through to 2017 and it is likely to be made some time next week as the House of Commons rises for its Christmas recess on December 20th.

Figures published by the Energy Savings Trust showed that homeowners with solar panels fitted to their roofs have seen an increase in the amount of money saved thanks to reduced electricity bills and the Feed-In-Tarrif. In fact, homeowners have saved between £540 and £635 per year.

The statistics coincide with recent figures released by the DECC which showed that there has been a 40 per cent boost in the number of solar panels installed between the last week in November and the week ending December 2nd.

Some 1,137 panels were installed in the last week of November, compared to 1,615 in the following week.