Growth in community energy projects will stall due to plans to axe the mechanism that pays small scale generators for the excess electricity they supply to the grid, the government has been warned.
The Solar Trade Association (STA) has announced that more than 300 organisations have signed its letter to energy minister Claire Perry urging her to reverse proposals, announced during the summer, to end the so called “export tariff” in April 2019.
The association is also lobbying MPs directly in a #Fair4Solar Coalition, which includes the NFU, Church of England, Electrical Contractors Association, WWF-UK, Community Energy England, UK Youth Climate Coalition and 10:10.
The campaign says that the withdrawal of the export tariff will mean that small scale rooftop installations will be subsidising the big generation companies by providing free electricity.
Dr Afsheen Rashid, chair of Community Energy England, said that withdrawing the export tariff would slow down the UK’s transition to the low-carbon, smart energy system.
“We’re going to see a stalling of growth in community energy as a whole. It is really detrimental because many projects are no longer going to be financially viable, and community energy offers local solutions, allowing local people to get involved in the energy system.
“Community energy is a key cornerstone to the government’s ambition for transition to a low-carbon, smart energy system, but these plans will see that transition slowed down.”
STA advocacy director Leonie Greene said: “Locally generated solar power is a valuable commodity so it would be wrong not to pay people for contributing to the clean energy supply we so desperately need.
“The export tariff is a sensible and established method for paying smaller contributors fairly in a market that remains squarely set up for very large-scale players.”
Under the government’s plans, the export tariff is due to disappear alongside the feed-in tariff, which provides small scale generators with a guaranteed cash sum for each kWh of electricity they produce.