Rooftop PV provides a fifth of the UK’s solar generation and the number of installations is set to pass 1 million in 2020, according to the Solar Trades Association. The STA said it expected a rise in installations this year after a recent fall caused by the withdrawal of the government’s feed-in tariff in March 2019.
The STA was citing BEIS figures, as it announced a link with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme that would encourage solar installers to provide certified installations and provide credits to STA members so they could do so. Previously certification was a requirement to qualify for feed-in tariff payments.
STA chief executive Chris Hewett said: “The last couple of years have been tricky to navigate for the industry, particularly for smaller installers. The STA has always championed high quality installations standards, strong consumer protection and the enforcement of this good practice. By requiring certification, the Feed-in-Tariff scheme encouraged installers to adhere to these standards. We want to use this new partnership to maintain support for standards whilst trimming costs for those companies who have been subjected to the wild ups and downs of Britain’s solar coaster and who provide consistent levels of service to consumers.”
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) admitted that installations had slowed, in its most recent figures published in December. During November 2019, there were 3,191 installations confirmed with an installed capacity of 10.0 MW, and BEIS said, “This is almost a third fewer installations than in November 2018, due to the closure of the Feed-in-tariff scheme at the end of March 2019. Since 2,823 (88.5%) of these were sub-4kW installations, the installed capacity for the month has only increased by 10.0 MW, which is roughly half of the capacity increase seen in November 2018.”
Instead of the FIT, large energy suppliers are now required to offer an export tariff under the Smart Export Guarantee. The STA’s league table of tariffs can be seen here. It currently lists Social Energy – which has voluntarily offered a tariff, as it is too small to be required to comply – at the top of its league table, offering 5.6p/kWh. Shell Energy received jeers from users when it announced a tariff of 0.001p/kWh – it claimed that figure was ‘temporary’ and has now upped its offer to 3.5p/kWh.