DECC rubber stamps ‘lift and shift’ solar rooftop proposals

The UK commercial rooftop sector received a significant boost last week after the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) rubber stamped proposals which will allow business to move rooftop solar panels with them if they move location.

DECC confirmed the news on Friday morning, stating that from 2019 medium and large installations will be allowed to move without losing Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments.

Prior to this, accredited installations lost FiT payments if they were relocation, a restriction which many within the industry had felt was holding back the sector.

Commenting on the changes Amber Rudd, minister for energy and climate change, praised the added incentive lift and shift would have on the industry. “Not only will rooftop solar drive down bills and create jobs, it will help us deliver the clean, reliable energy supplies that the country needs,” she said.

The proposals are set to be made in secondary legislation published later this year, however businesses face a four-year wait before being allowed to move after DECC said it would need time to “achieve the desired policy intention”.

DECC has also added a number of conditions to the approval based on the responses it received during a consultation process which began in November last year.

Lift and shift will only apply to other-than-stand-alone installations greater than 50kW in size and to qualify for the FiT the building’s solar installation must contribute at least 10% of its energy demand.

Any additional capacity added during a company’s move will be treated as an extension to its existing FiT contract, meaning that businesses will not miss out if they look to bolster their installations after moving offices.

Businesses will also not be required to receive planning permission or a grid connection agreement prior to any move, however, Ofgem will be allowed to charge a fee based on a cost-recovery basis for any costs incurred.

The consultation responses released by DECC last week showed an overwhelming support for the idea from those surveyed with 86% of respondents backing the proposals.

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This article has been adapted from an article published in Solar Power Portal.