Schools and some other businesses with solar panels installed may see a rise as large as 800% in taxes when business rate changes come into effect in April 2017.

Which schools will be affected?

The changes will only affect systems where the energy is generated for use by the school. Schools who export their power to the grid, to a third party or where the system is owned by a third party company, will not see any change.

Private Schools, academy trusts, foundation and voluntary aided schools with charitable status will not be affected by the changes as they are currently exempt from paying rates.

Can schools still benefit from solar power after the changes come into effect?

For maintained schools it would appear that the only viable option is to work with a third party provider who will own the panels, meaning the school will simply pay for the electricity it consumes.

Solar for Schools or similar third party organisations will provide schools with free solar panels on the basis that the school provides the roof space for the panels and buys the renewable electricity generated by the panels for a 20 year period.