This week the government announced that it is to introduce a new Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) banding specifically for medium-sized roof-mounted solar panel systems.
In an attempt to incentivise the installation of solar panels on buildings, rather than on the ground, building-mounted solar PV projects will receive higher rates than ground-mounted projects. It is hoped that this will encourage large factories and warehouses to install solar on their roofs. The cost surrounding this process is continuing to decline which will also spur on those considering installing solar panels.
Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, commented: "We have listened to industry about the need to differentiate support between building mounted and ground mounted installations and we have introduced two bands as a result."
The new ROCs look like this:
Building-mounted solar PV will get 1.7 ROCs/MWh in 2013-14, falling to 1.4 ROCs/MWh by 2016-17
Ground-mounted solar PV will get 1.6 ROCs/MWh in 2013-14, falling to 1.2 ROCs/MWh by 2016-17
"Our proposals for solar projects on commercial buildings will encourage businesses to consider solar PV as a serious option for meeting their power needs," added Mr Barker.
It is estimated that there are 300,000 acres of brownfield sites and commercial roof-space available in the UK, eligible to be fitted with a solar array, according to earm.co.uk.
Many industry experts had been calling for a differentiation between roof and ground-mounted solar installations prior to this announcement.
The changes will come in to place in April 2013 but in the lead up to that time, an increase in ground-mount photovoltaic project activity is anticipated ahead of the change in ROC. This in turn will stimulate the overall solar economy.
Edward Davey, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: "We want to see a healthy solar industry that grows in a sustainable way. That’s why our support levels reflect the fall in the cost of the technology. The support we are setting out today will bring new investment into the economy and create new jobs."