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Beware: receiving grants from public funds may make you ineligible for feed-in tariffs

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 August 2011 at 8:52 am

The feed-in tariff is intended to replace grants from public funds as the main way of incentivising microgeneration. So anyone awarded a public grant to install or buy generating equipment is in danger of not being eligible for the feed-in tariff (unless they repay the grant).

There are some exemptions:

1. the grant was made before 1 July 2011,
2. the installation is first commissioned before 1 October 2011, and
3. the combination of grants and income from the feed-in tariff is in accordance with the European Community's rules on de minimis aid.

Also exempted are "permitted grants":

These are grants made from public funds made before 1 April 2010 for the cost of buying or installing:
- an eligible installation first commisioned before 15 July 2009; or
- an eligible installation on a residential prperty first commissioned between 15 July 2009 and 31 March 2010; or
In respect of reasonable additional costs of an installation to avoice or mitigate environmental harm. In order to qualify, the amount of the grant must not exceed the amount of those identified costs.

An example of the latter might be, for example, to protect fish and other small wildlife in a micro hydro scheme. It is unlikely that there will be justifiable extra costs for solar PV, wind or micro-CHP installations.

More information is available on the Ofgem website.

Photo by Steve Jurvetson

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