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UK Solar Energy Policy Could See Some Radical Changes

Solar farm

The UK’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister Claire Perry said on Tuesday that “solar power should not be provided to the grid for free,” signaling that the UK government may introduce changes to its plans to end the generation tariff and the route to market tariff, the so-called export tariff, for small-scale renewables.

In July this year, the UK government presented a proposal to close the export tariff alongside the generation tariff on March 31, 2019, which would mean full closure of the Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) scheme to new applications after that date.

The proposal has drawn criticism from the renewables industry, which is concerned about the future of small-scale renewables in the UK.

“The bad news is that Government has been crystal clear today on what policy measures will stop – even very basic rights to fair export payments – but they are frighteningly vague on what comes next,” Chris Hewett, CEO at the Solar Trade Association (STA), said at the time.

On Tuesday, Conservative Kevin Hollinrake asked Minister Perry in Parliament if she believed that householders should expect some form of payment “rather than simply subsidizing large energy companies.” The UK minister replied:

“I do completely agree that solar power should not be provided to the grid for free and that’s why I’ll shortly be announcing the next steps for small scale renewables.”

“It would be wrong to have power provided to the grid for free,” Perry also said.

Related: The Implications Of Soaring Diesel Prices

Responding to the minister’s comments from today, the Solar Trade Association said on Twitter that “We look forward to hearing her announcement on the issue in due course.”

The share of renewables in the UK’s electricity generation mix hit a record high in second quarter of 2018, while the share of coal in the energy mix slumped to an all-time low, UK government figures showed in September.

Between April and June this year, the share of renewables hit a record 31.7 percent, driven by a new record for solar generation, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in its UK Energy Statistics for Q2 2018.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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