Solar strategy gives a big boost for solar panels on large, non-domestic rooftops
I am sure that you cannot fail to have noticed the increased prevalence of solar panels appearing in UK homes in the last few years. Maybe you have noticed acres of solar panels reflecting the sun in fields – mostly in south-west England?
Maybe you have also thought, what about all those ugly commercial rooftops – why don’t they put those to good use generating free electricity from the sun?
Well now maybe that will start to happen! The Government has published the long-awaited Solar Strategy designed to enact a “further step change in deployment” for solar in the UK.
The document is the first dedicated solar strategy released by any European government. It signal the remarkable growth of the UK PV sector over the last few years and demonstrates the government’s support for this effective technology.
Energy Minister Greg Barker said: “We have managed to put ourselves among the world leaders on solar and this strategy will help us stay there. There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations and we must seize the opportunity this offers to boost our economy.”
The expectation is that it will boost the “medium size” systems – between 50 kiloWatts (kW) and 1 megaWatt (mW) – and be predominantly on large, non-domestic rooftops.
The Government is in the process of removing the requirement for planning permission for these larger systems (already permitted development for sub 50kW systems).
It is also promising to make roofs available in the Government estate for solar panel installation.
The returns aren’t bad either. A 250kW system on a building which will consume all of the electricity produced, for example, will cost around £250K and generate around £40K in feed-in tariff income and free electricity – a return of around 16% guaranteed for 20 years and linked to inflation. Try getting that in a bank these days!
There are also many companies who will install these systems free of charge. They get the feed-in tariff and the building occupier gets free electricity for 20 years.