Solar installer hits out at proposed ROC reduction

The announcement that support payments for large-scale solar PV schemes under the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) scheme could be cut by 25% is set to halt many future projects in their tracks, warned solar installer Ardenham Energy.

Responding to news that the Department for Energy and Climate Change plans to reduce ROC scheme payments for solar schemes installed and accredited after 1 April 2013 (Farmers Weekly 14 September) the company’s director Harry Shepherd-Cross said many proposed schemes would no longer be viable.

“The proposed ROC banding review is the sixth major cut or policy change in 18 months and is made at a time when the solar PV industry is bleeding to death,” he said.

“Unfortunately it will put a lot of people off going into solar and it will also mean there will be a downward pressure on the rent per acre that developers are able to pay farmers.”

Schemes with cheaper connection costs would be most likely to continue and because the general lead time for these type of projects was nine to 12 months, the industry was now in a position where it doesn’t know the support payment rates going forward, he added.

“We really wish we knew what the government was trying to achieve. On the one hand they claim to want to increase renewable technology but they seem to be doing everything they can to stop that happening,” said Mr Shepherd-Cross.

“It’s very frustrating because they said they want to achieve 22GW in renewable technology by 2020 but to date we have only achieved 1.2GW. The policies are preventing that happening.”

The proposed plans, revealed last week, would see the ROC payment reduced from 2 ROC/kWh to 1.5 ROC/kWh – equating to a financial loss of approximately £25/MWh.

Gemma Mackenzie on G+

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