31st March deadline for FIT applications for systems with MCS certificates issued before 15th Jan 2016

a recent new build solar pv installationLeeds Solar have just become aware that on 10th March DECC slipped in a Statutory Instrument that takes effect today (31st March 2016) that results in  the following urgent issue.

All existing renewable energy installations with an MCS certificate issued before 15th January 2016 must submit their Feed-In Tariff application by 31st March 2016 or they will never be able to claim any Feed-In Tariff or Export payments.

This issue is not mentioned in any Ofgem guidance as there have been no updates since the legislation was drafted, but it has recently been added to the Energy Saving Trust Fed In Tariff guidance page, copied below

  • A requirement for customers to have applied by 31 March 2016 at the latest if their installation has a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certificate issue date and commissioning date of 14 January 2016 or earlier. This applies to all MCS technologies under the scheme. 

We have produced a revised version of appropriate sections of the legislation including the new amendments at the bottom of this blog article, as well as a quick guide to the issue for those potentially affected.

Who does this affect?

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Solar PV export payments ruled out for extensions to existing installations

Ofgem confirms the solar industry's fears by ruling that extentions to existing Solar PV systems are not only not eligible for FIT payments, but also aren't eligible for export payments.

It was clear from DECC's consultation response that anyone wishing to add extra solar PV capacity to a site with existing Feed-In Tariff (FIT) registered solar PV systems would no longer be eligible to receive Feed-In Tariff payments for the extensions. However it wasn't at all clear whether these systems would still be eligible for export payments, with several FIT suppliers we contacted last week saying that they assumed that such installations would still be eligible for export payments.
On page 25 of the Feed-In Tariff guidance for renewable installations v10, released today however, Ofgem clearly state that this is not the case ;-

    3.77. Any extension to an accredited FIT installation that is commissioned on or after 15 January 2016 is not eligible to receive FIT     support. This applies to both generation and export payments. 

At Leeds Solar we already had 3 previous customers lined up who were wanting to fit battery storage to their existing system and add additional panels at the same time despite this being ineligible for FIT payments. This was just about economy with the export rate being paid, it remains to be seen whether it will be viable without even export payments being made.

This seems to us to be a particularly unfair and innecessary change to the system, as the export payments at 4.85p/kWh really aren't a subsidy. We struggle to see what justification there is for this change.
We hope that some of the more enlightened Feed-In Tariff suppliers will find a mechanism for these installations to receive payments from them via power purchase agreements without the need for costly half hourly export metering being fitted. In the meantime though this perverse decision risks preventing a market developing for entirely unsubsidised additional solar PV capacity being added by enthusiastic owners of existing solar PV systems. We'd love to hear the Minister explain why DECC want's this to happen.

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No Feed-In Tariff cuts until 2014 DECC confirm

BP hyundai All Black-webDECC confirms no Feed-In Tariff cuts until at least New Years Day 2014


Following weeks of confusion and uncertainty over the period over which DECC was planning to calculate the installation figures for the preceeding 2 month 'quarter', DECC quietly slipped out the quarterly figures on 24th July.

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A graduate trainee solar PV design engineer joins Leeds Solar's design team

Leeds Solar today welcomes Jonathan Ramos to our solar PV design team.



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98% of UK solar PV systems are achieving their performance targets - Sheffield University study

all black solar installationAn independent 2 year study conducted by Sheffield University researchers who collected data from over 2000 UK based solar PV installations has shown that 98% of these systems achieved their predicted annual generation figures, with only 2% of systems failing to reach their SAP predictions.

Dr Alistair Buckley, a university lecturer who is leading the project, said he was surprised that so many of the units were operating so well.

He said: “There are basically three main technology types that have been deployed in the UK, and they are all working well - that is ‘to spec’. They do what they say on the tin most of the time.

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Are the 2013 solar panel price rises starting?

After 18 months of continuous severe price reductions in the solar market, it looks to us as if solar panel prices in the UK may well have started rebounding from their recently low prices.

We've just been checking our suppliers prices and have noticed prices from most of the major suppliers seem to have started going up a little in the last month, as shown below.


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2011-12 sunlight data and performance guarantee analysis (West Yorkshire)

Analysis of sunlight hours data shows that solar PV systems in West Yorkshire installed after June 2011 will have suffered from reduced first year sunlight levels compared to the 1998-2010 average our predictions are based on.

This years unusually bad summer is largely to blame for this with sunlight hours around 40% below average in June and April, as well as July and August being 10 and 14% below average.

Most of the last 12 months were below average though, with March being the notable exception at 48% above average.

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38% of home buyers want solar panels on their new home

black-black Jetion 250Wp panelsSolar panels are now seen as the most desirable extra / non-essential aspect of a property when house buyers are choosing which house to buy.

38% of those surveyed gave solar panels as the top extra item they'd like their new house to have, according to the new survey commissioned by IMG Direct.

The research clearly shows the popularity of solar installations among house buyers who recognise the long term energy savings, and financial income that a solar installation guarantees for them and their families, as well as the positive environmental impact.



© Leeds Solar

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Major changes to G83 rules for properties needing advance permission to connect

A new draft version of the G83/2 regulations has been released for consultation including major changes to the rules about when advance permission is needed for connecting a solar PV system to the grid.

The key changes are:-

Definition of 'Close Geographic Region'

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Google searches for 'solar PV' are as low as at the start of the FIT scheme

Google Trends Analysis; Solar PV, England

Leeds Solar have used the google trends website to analyse the trend in the number of searches for the term 'solar PV' by google users based in England, and the results are fairly shocking.


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Feed In Tariff cut delayed 'a little'

Greg Barker once again used the now apparently recognised channel for making government announcements and used his Twitter feed to announce the following;

Having listened carefully to industry, we are looking at scope for pushing back a little the next proposed reduction in the  tariffs

As per usual, this announcement does nothing to clarify the situation, as the lack of an announcement on Friday 11th May, 40 parliamentary days before 1st July, already meant that we knew that any cuts would have to be delayed a little. We can't help but suspect that this announcement about a slight delay is more likely the result of a cock up at DECC regarding the date they needed to make the announcement on than DECC actually listening to the industry.

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EPC arrangements and 30th June FIT cuts

sanyo h series allerton bywater web

30th June 2012 is the next proposed date for further Feed In Tariff cuts;

Book now for pre 30th June installations

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July FIT cuts - analysis of the March-April solar PV figures

sanyo n series solar PV panels inverness *03/05/12 update*

It looks like we misinterpreted th figures, and DECC proposed to reference only the installation figures from 4th March-end of April 2012 to determine the FIT cuts, so the installations up to the 3rd March FIT cut shouldn't count. If this is the case, then the figures should be well into the lowest band, and the proposed 1st July FIT cut should be the smaller of the 3 proposed options for the cuts with <4kW installations moving from 21p to 16.8p per kWh.

In the phase 2a consultation document DECC laid out their plans for a further cut in the Feed In Tariff rate from 1st July 2012, with the level of that cut being based upon the capacity of solar PV with eligibility dates in 4th March to end of April 2012.

DECC gave 3 bands for the installation rates in that period that would lead to different FIT reductions as follows;

Option A = over 200MW installed, 

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A review of confirmed Feed In Tariff scheme changes 9th February 2012

4kwp-schott-195wp-black-framed-solar-pv-panels-doncaster-south-yorkshireLeeds Solar summarise the decisions DECC announced today resulting from the Feed In Tariff consultation started in October 2011.

Feed In Tariff rates for solar PV

FIT rates from 3rd March-30th June will definitely be those proposed in the consultation, as set out below.


Confirmed Feed In Tariff rates for all installations registered between

March 3rd - June 30th 2012 

FIT rates in p / kWh 4kW 4-10kW 10-50kW 50-150kW 150-250kW 250kW-5MW

Stand alone

EPC <·Band·D


3rd - 31st March

21 16.8 15.2 12.9 12.9 8.9 8.9 no change


April 1st - June 30th

21 16.8 15.2 12.9 12.9 8.9 8.9 9.0


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Leeds Solar installation and stock UPDATE 08/02/2012

Leeds Solar are now taking bookings for March installations, with slots available for solar PV installations before any changes to the FIT schemes that may apply from the end of March.

We understand DECC are due to make an announcement about these changes on 9th February, and will update our website with an analysis of these changes as soon as we can.

We have good availability of all stock.

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Leeds Solar stock and installation slots UPDATE 27/01/12

Ultra Efficient system of Sanyo H series panels on Yorkshire Stone roof in Knaresborough 

*update 10/2/2012*

Leeds Solar have now filled all our installation slots for February and are now taking bookings for March installations only.

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DECC briefing on the Feed In Tariff appeal 26/01/12 part 2

The Government today released a guide to their take on the current situation with the Feed In Tariff levels, the court decisions and what their decision to apply for permission to appeal to the Supreme court means.

Leeds Solar have reproduced it in 2 parts. This is part 2, part 1 is available at this link

Please note that as DECCs actions have currently been found to have been illegal by 2 of the highest courts in the UK, we're publishing this for information purposes only, but recommend that anything DECC say here be treated with caution as it is likely to be heavily spun. We will attempt to analyse this and respond asap.

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DECC briefing on the Feed In Tariff appeal 26/01/12 part 1

The Government today released a guide to their take on the current situation with the Feed In Tariff levels, the court decisions and what their decision to apply for permission to appeal to the Supreme court means.

Leeds Solar have reproduced it in 2 parts. This is part 1, part 2 is available at this link

DECC briefing on the Feed In Tariff Appeal 26/01/12 part 1

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Feed In Tariff update - 43.3p rate may be back until 3rd March 2012 for Solar PV


*10.12.2012 - UPDATE*

*Please note this is an old blog post from the start of 2012, but seems to be getting a lot of hits still - the information is now a year out of date, please ignore it*

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DECC don't announce a £197 million FIT budget increase...

Sir Humphrey is alive and well and working for DECCFollowing our recent blog post analysing the implications of the latest installed PV figures on the FIT budget for 2012-13, we've done some further digging and found out that DECC have done a brilliant homage to Sir Humphrey.

DECC have sneaked out an increase to the FITs budget spending envelope, by taking the money from the ROCs budget spending envelope, then claiming that it's neither an increase in the FIT budget spending envelope or a decrease in the ROC budget spending envelope despite the FIT budget going up, and the ROC budget* going down. This is because the ROC budget apparently always included money that was intended to have been in the FIT budget but they'd left it in the ROC budget because the dog ate it.

I say 'sneaked out' because they made no announcement about it, simply tucked the change away in a table and explanation note in the catchily titled 'Control Framework for DECC levyfunded spending Questions and Answers' released on the fuel poverty section of their website on the 8th December... a date when the entire industry was a wee bit busy to notice.

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