The Department for Energy and Climate Change has announced a review of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme for small-scale low carbon electricity generation.

While acknowledging that the scheme has been highly successful to date, attracting more than 21,000 registrations since it began last year, the purpose of the review, essentially, is to ensure that the scheme is and continues to be an efficient use of public subsidy, particularly in light of required savings to be made following the Spending Review. The review of the FIT scheme has been brought forward, to correct "early teething problems".

Although the vast majority of the currently registered schemes are small-scale and domestic, concern has been expressed by the DECC about the prospect of large-scale solar PV installations taking a disproportionate amount of the available funding.

The review will, in the words of DECC:

  • "Assess all aspects of the scheme including tariff levels, administration and eligibility of technologies
  • Be completed by the end of the year, with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012 (unless the review reveals a need for greater urgency)
  • Fast-track consideration of large scale solar projects (over 50kW) with a view to making any resulting changes to tariffs as soon as practical, subject to consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny as required by the Energy Act 2008".

The DECC has also expressed concern about the lack of take-up of FITs by anaerobic digestion plants, and so will also undertake a short study into that matter, "looking again at the tariff rates inherited from the previous administration to see if they are enough to make farm based Anaerobic Digestion worthwhile".

The terms of reference for the review are available by clicking here, and the DECC is inviting views on issues to be considered. Whatever the outcome, changes will only affect new entrants to the FIT scheme following the changes; already-accredited FIT schemes will be unaffected.