The UK Government has today published its response to the 2 October further consultation (the “Further Consultation”) which was to consider:

  • the introduction of a possible grid delay grace period for new solar PV capacity above 5MW under the Renewables Obligation; and
  • altering the definition for other-than-stand-alone installations under the Feed-in Tariff.

The Further Consultation was opened on 2 October and closed on 24 October 2014 and was issued following the 13 May 2014 consultation paper outlining proposals to close the Renewables Obligation (RO) for new solar PV capacity above 5MW and to promote the deployment of mid-scale building-mounted solar PV under the small scale Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme.

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The vast majority of respondents (98%) to the Further Consultation supported the need for a grid delay grace period, with a majority (62%), believing that 3 months was insufficient. Over 85% of respondents were content with the grace period’s eligibility criteria. Having reviewed the evidence and opinions from the consultation exercise, the Government has decided to take the following decisions:

  • The Government has decided to introduce a 12 month grid delay grace period. Projects qualifying for this grace period will need to commission and have an accreditation date on or before 31 March 2016. New stations benefitting from this grid delay grace period will receive the Renewables Obligation Certificate level in force on the date of accreditation.
  • The Government has decided that the three pieces of evidence that will be required to qualify for the grace period are the same as those outlined in the consultation, with one minor amendment allowing confirmation of the grid connection to be provided by an email or letter. The full evidence requirements are:
    • a grid connection agreement consisting of: a grid connection offer; acceptance of that offer; and a document from the network operator which estimated or set a date no later than 31 March 2015 for delivery of the connection;
    • a written declaration by the generator that to the best of their knowledge, the generating station would have been commissioned on or before 31 March 2015 if the connection had been made on or before the estimated grid connection date;

a letter or email from the network operator confirming that the grid connection was made after the estimated grid connection date; and that in the network operator’s opinion, the failure to make the grid connection on or before the estimated grid connection date was not due to any breach of the grid connection agreement by the generator/developer.