The recent announcement of a review of feed-in tariffpayments for solar photovoltaic installations, prompted by fears over large-scale solar power farms blowing the budget for Fits, was met with a chorus of disapproval from both the solar industry and environmentalists.

However, last week, John Costyn from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) explained the reason for exploring an upper limit of 50kWp for entering the scheme: it’s because that is the legal definition of micro generation. This reminder that the tariff is all about encouraging small installations in and for local communities – not big installations needing big money and generating big profits – suggests that the review should be welcomed instead.

Mark Shorrock, from solar farm developers Low Carbon Solar and the landowner- and investor-backed campaign group Power to Society, has claimed that “scores of ‘big society’ community-owned schemes” are affected. In practice it’s probably no more than a dozen schemes that are close to 100 kWp, and any limit must surely be adjusted to accommodate these. But let’s be clear about how big a 50kWp installation is – up to 270 panels, a sizeable installation for any community building or social housing project. Every school in the country, for example, could spend up to £145,000 and gain an income, including free electricity, of £17,000 a year.

source: guardian

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