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Tag: Solar Energy

50kW PV installations: Will there ever be a better time for commercial solar in the UK?

Article reprinted from  Blogs by Guest Blogger Published on 07 October 2011 Updated on 07 October 2011
Original article here:: http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/blogs/50kw_pv_installations_will_there_ever_be_a_better_time_for_co5478ial_solar/


50kW PV installations: Will there ever be a better time for commercial solar in the UK?

In the lead up to the Comprehensive FiT Review there is really no better time to invest in solar energy.

In the wake of the Fast Track Feed-in Tariff Review there may never be a better time to install a 50kW PV system in the UK.

The cost of a 50kW commercial solar photovoltaics (PV) system in the UK has now reached a price range of £130k to £150k. With the UK feed-in tariff set at 32.9p/kWh generated, I would argue that UK solar PV is currently in a bubble — one that serves up a golden opportunity for businesses to add solar PV to their property. David Owen’s excellent blog post on the new FiT, prices and the future for solar in the UK: Part 1 only serves to underline this point. In my opinion, it is unlikely that there will ever be a better time to act, so my advice would be: fill ‘yer boots!

The facts

A commercial 50kW PV system, taking up the rooftop area approximately the size of two tennis courts and located in the middle of the UK, would typically generate between £13k and £17k in FiT income and energy bill savings annually, generating a profit of approximately £260k over 25 years. Now, when you consider that the FiT income is index-linked to the CPI as well as being Government-backed, as a business case, commercial solar PV is a now a ‘no brainer’. This point is only accentuated as electricity prices escalate.

However, as good as this all sounds, many of us in the commercial solar sector know all too well that the timescale of a client’s decision and action is one of the key threats to the likelihood of projects proceeding at all. This issue became apparent when developing large-scale solar parks in the UK . Parks that were built were associated with landowning clients who actually took decisive and prompt action to proceed, therefore cutting through solicitor and agent delays. Yet for every landowner’s project brought into fruition before the August 1 FiT deadline, five are now, in hindsight, bitterly disappointed that their project didn’t make it. Many of these were cancelled purely due to delays in decision and action.

The time is now

To avoid similar disappointment businesses thinking of installing ~50kW solar systems must now act quickly or risk missing out. With less than six months remaining for solar PV systems to become operational and registered on the current FiT rates, there is effectively only two months left for businesses to begin the process of adding new solar to their property portfolio.

It is important to remember that although a survey and PV system design can be done quickly, planning permission typically takes three months and an application to connect the system to the electricity network is generally a two month exercise.

New applications must be in by the end of November 2011 to have realistic chance of being installed in time.
Unfortunately making decisions quickly is not always something that Business Managers are always encouraged to do. However, we are beginning to see signs that the message of the need for speed is just starting to get through. In fact, one of our clients is now vigorously taking the solar message to its Local Council and wider Government sector with the headline. Likewise we are seeing individual barn or rooftop owners decide that now is the time to act — particularly those farmers in Cornwall that are becoming more expert than the experts in solar PV!

Over the coming weeks we anticipate evaluating and planning hundreds of 50kW business solar PV systems for telecoms, transport, local council and agricultural clients in the race to be installed prior to April 2012, when the effects of the Comprehensive FiT Review will set in.

Solar firms file for judicial review against feed-in tariff cuts!

Group of solar developers launch legal action, alleging government has trampled over its own processes with feed-in tariff review…

A group of 11 solar firms filed a claim in the High Court late yesterday, seeking a judicial review against energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne and his decision to launch a fast-track review of the feed-in tariff incentives available for larger solar installations.

The legal action has been widely anticipated ever since the government shocked the industry by launching the surprise review on 7 February. It accuses the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) of reneging on previous commitments to not cut feed-in tariffs until 2012, and failing to adhere to its previously stated processes for reviewing the incentives.

Speaking on behalf of the group filing the claim, Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Low Carbon Solar UK, said that the companies felt that a judicial reviews was the "only course of action left" after raising their concerns over the proposed cuts with the government.

"We hope the secretary of state of energy and climate change will abandon this fast-track review and work with us to find a more appropriate solution for the future of the feed-in tariff," he said in a statement. "In pulling back on a commitment to support solar energy, the government will cause the abandonment of hundreds of community-scale schemes. The cost of not getting this right, aside from the government meeting its climate change targets, include the creation of new jobs, a diversified income for farmers and landowners, reduced energy costs for businesses, and the provision of more secure and reliable energy for the UK. "

Speaking to BusinessGreen, a spokeswoman for the group said the companies were seeking an expedited judicial review that could be completed before the end of the government’s consultation on its proposed cuts to feed-in tariffs, which is scheduled to end next month.

The legal challenge has been launched by Alectron Investments Ltd, Element Power Ltd, Juwi Renewable Energies Ltd, Lark Energy Limited, Low Carbon Solar UK Ltd, MO3 Power Ltd, Donald Anderson, Guy Anderson, Kate Kenyon and The Green Company (Europe) Ltd.

However, the case will be watched closely by the wider solar industry. Many companies have warned that the proposed cuts to feed-in tariffs of between 40 and 70 per cent would make virtually all installations with more than 50kW of capacity financially unviable.

The application for a judicial review centres on a series of legal arguments relating to the government’s handling of the fast-track review.

It notes that previous indications from DECC suggested that the first review of the feed-in tariff scheme would not take place until 2012, and no changes would be implemented until April 2013.

It also claims that, while DECC indicated in November 2011 that an earlier review might take place, this was originally intended to be carried out over a 12-month period with any changes to tariffs implemented from 2012. The government is now planning to impose any cuts to feed-in tariffs from the start of August.

The application points out that the government failed to announce a "trigger point", despite ministerial assertions that an early review would only take place once that pre-announced "trigger point" was reached.

Finally, it accuses the government of failing to provide adequate evidence that the UK is facing an "excessive deployment" of large-scale solar projects that will undermine the effectiveness of the feed-in tariff scheme. It argues that it is "irrational " for the government to cut incentives for cost-effective solar farms and larger installations when the UK has to meet legally binding renewable energy targets.

DECC was unavailable to comment at the time of going to press.

However, the government has consistently argued that cuts to feed-in tariffs are required to stop large solar farms eating into the funds available for domestic rooftop installations. As such, DECC is expected to contest any judicial review.

by James Murray ‘Business Green’, 19th of April 2011 , See his original post here: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2044601/solar-firms-file-judicial-review-feed-tariff-cuts