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Energy efficiency criteria for solar PV feed-in tariff lacks clarity

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 February 2012 at 12:42 pm

NB: The position is now clear. Solar PV will count towards EPC level D. Click here to read more.

It's not clear whether or not newly installed solar PV panels are included in the new energy efficiency requirement of the feed-in tariff. The government has confirmed that a level D energy performance certificate is required for any building to which a solar PV installation is attached or wired.

The reason given for this change is that 'reducing demand for energy is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing carbon emissions and therefore a process that should be prioritised before installing microgeneration, such as solar PV. It will apply to domestic and non-domestic buildings.

To meet the requirement, generators will need to provide a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) certificate as part of their application for the feed-in tariff, which will need to be verified as part of the FITs accreditation process. Generators who can't demonstrate they meet the requirement will get just 9p per kWh generated (compared with the full rate for installations up to 4kW of 21p).

The response document does not make it clear whether or not the solar PV panels can be included in the EPC - they often appear as a suggested measure that consumers could take to improve their building's EPC rating.

One reading of the document is that you could install your solar panels, then get and EPC done, and submit that with your MCS certificate to your FITs supplier. However, it's not clear whether or not this is the case. If this is not the case, there may be a significant impact for take up of the FITs. We'll keep you updated as we find out more.

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Comments

4 comments - read them below or add one

Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 21 February 2012 at 10:38 am

Hi NorthGlosEPC

Solar PV can count towards the EPC of D. The building owner has to submit the EPC certificate with their application to the FIT supplier. I think it's certainly an opportunity for DEAs to team up with solar PV installers, as customers are going to want to know that the solar PV will get them a D before they sign on the dotted line, then they will need the EPC afterwards to get the feed-in tariff. It's also a great opportunity to nudge people towards other energy efficiency measures at the same time.

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NorthGlosEPC

NorthGlosEPCComment left on: 20 February 2012 at 11:02 pm

Cathy,

I still think a reduction from 43p to 21p will seriously reduce PV installations, at least for a while until the installation costs really do (and if they do) reduce to a low enough level.

However I think I'd agree that any property should achieve a minimum EPC rating before qualifying for the solar FiT, and for the reasons you've quoted. In addition I'd argue that if a home owner is in receipt of 21p per Kwh essentially from the rest of us then to go on and waste energy through the fabric of an ineffiecient house is not on. Even if the wasted energy is paid for by the home owner at a much lower per Kwh rate, it's still an unneccessary waste, especially as a national reduction is the objective.

I'm surprized they've opted for only a "D" rating I seem to remember that was previously what I'd consider a more appropriate "C" rating. In my opinion measures to enable the use of less energy always trump the addition of renewables. Although in the longer term we'll clearly need both.

A "D" rating is really not difficult to achieve at all. I'm a DEA and I'd estimate that if you took an as built 1960's semi with an old non-condensing boiler and only put in a reasonable amount of loft insulation you'd probably manage a lower "D" rating.

As regards should that "D" rating be before or after PV installation I'd argue it should be before. If it were after PV almost any house would qualify making the stipulation just about pointless.

Do you have any information on when an EPC will be required as part of the FiT accreditation process. My interest obviously is connected with actually getting more EPC work (it's tough at the moment) and an approach to a local PV installer or two might be a good move for me.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 9 February 2012 at 2:33 pm

Hi Fred. This blog is just about the short term, based on the response to the phase 1 consultation. More to follow on the proposals in phase 2 when I've finished reading it.

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Fred1

Fred1Comment left on: 9 February 2012 at 2:28 pm

9p or 4.7p ?????

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