The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed that it plans to cut support for large-scale solar projects over 5 MW from April 2015, confirming fears raised back in May when the adjustments to the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) were first suggested.
The news comes only a day after NPD Solarbuzz Vice President Finlay Colville wrote that the company was downgrading their predictions for the UK to 2.4 GW, a number that has been fluctuating all year, with some observers even suggesting it could reach 3 GW come year end.
The decision to cut the support for large-scale solar projects comes despite the majority of respondents to a public consultation opposing the government’s plans. But the DECC stated that they could not “ignore the very clear evidence that large-scale solar PV is deploying faster than can be afforded.”
The DECC’s decision states that it will “close the RO to new solar PV projects above 5 MW in scale from 1 April 2015, and to additional capacity added to existing accredited stations from that date, where the station is, or would become, above 5 MW.”
“The large-scale solar sector has been in shock since DECC’s consultation was announced back in May,” said Paul Barwell, chief executive of the UK’s Solar Trade Association. “Why is the UK government putting this industry’s incredible achievements on solar power at risk? To curtail its growth now is just perverse and unjustified on budgetary grounds – solar has only consumed around 1% of the Renewables Obligation budget.”
NPD Solarbuzz is still predicting the UK to to continue deploying record figures. Finlay Colville said that “the Q3’14 level is still a record deployment figure for any third quarter of UK solar PV additions,” adding that “every quarter so far in 2014 has been a quarterly record for PV deployed in the UK. This will continue to happen for Q4’14 and, not too surprisingly, in Q1’15.”