In July, the Government launched a consultation on how to cost effectively manage the deployment of solar PV of 5MW and below within the Renewables Obligation. 

The outcome of the consultation was published on 17th December (Consultation outcome: Changes to financial support for solar PV). 

Although the outcome of the consultation is broadly as expected, it is worth noting that DECC have clarified that stations that qualify for the grandfathering exception criteria/significant financial contribution grace period will be protected from the upcoming banding review. 

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Government's decisions can be summarised as follows: 

  • The Government has decided to close the RO across Great Britain to new solar PV generating stations at 5MW and below in scale from 1 April 2016, and to additional capacity added to existing accredited stations that does not take it above 5MW in total installed capacity from that date. 
  • The Government has decided to provide closure Grace Periods in line with those provided for solar PV projects above 5MW where preliminary accreditation or significant financial commitments have been made on or before 22 July 2015, and for projects affected by grid delay (evidence has to be provided). The Government has decided to remove grandfathering for projects in England and Wales at 5MW and below with an accreditation date from 23 July 2015 onwards. 
  • The Government has decided to provide an exception to the removal of grandfathering to those projects that can demonstrate that they had made a significant financial commitment on or before 22 July 2015. The eligibility criteria will be the same as those required for the significant financial commitment grace period. The Government has decided to allow projects qualifying for the exception to the removal of grandfathering to also benefit from an exception designed to provide protection against the proposed banding review reduction in support. Such projects will receive the currently applicable support rate for 2016/17 as set out in the Renewables Obligation Order 2015. 
  • The Government has decided that there is sufficient evidence to hold a technology-specific banding review for solar PV in England and Wales - a new consultation document has been published.