5MW cut off from 1 April 2015

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is proposing that all new PV projects with a capacity greater than 5MW (including extensions bringing the total capacity over 5MW) which are commissioned after 1 April 2015 are not eligible for Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). All such projects will be left with no choice but to apply for the Contracts for Difference (CfD), the first allocation round of which is anticipated to take place in October 2014. Accordingly, there is essentially a much shorter transition between the Renewables Obligation (RO) and CfD than anticipated.

Grace period

There will be a grace period for those developers who have already made a significant financial commitment. To demonstrate significant financial commitment, a developer has to have achieved the following by 13 May 2014:

  1. preliminary accreditation in place; or
  2. significant commitment demonstrated by way of:
  • an accepted grid connection offer (including a letter from the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) with an anticipated connection date which is on or prior to 31 March 2016);
  • planning consent;
  • freehold or agreement to lease (an option to purchase or lease does not count); and
  • significant commitment evidenced by
    • minimum £100,000 expenditure; or
    • material contracts having been entered into.

The grace period is for 12 months, in other words, the project will have to be commissioned by 31 March 2016 no matter what.

Commercial rooftop Feed-in Tariff (FIT) promotion

Due to the difficulties of commercial rooftop solar, in particular, the leasing issues, the DECC is proposing to split the current FIT degression bands for over 50kW installations into two separate bands:

  1. band for stand-alone; and
  2. the other band for rooftop solar.

There will no more money available for rooftop; however, this will ensure that the money available for commercial rooftop is ringfenced.