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Feed-in tariff consultation offers hope for community energy projects

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 February 2012 at 3:53 pm

The government is seeking views on how to define 'community' microgeneration installations, and how those who fall into the new definition could benefit from the feed-in tariff. It's looking at three areas in its consultation, announced yesterday: social enterprise, charities and social housing and also invites ideas of other groups that might be included.

It is proposing that small scale, community-owned projects that have up to 25 installations will get the same rate of feed-in tariff as individual installations.

Larger community owned multi-installations, including social housing, will get 80% of the standard rate. This compares very favourably with a massive proposed cut in the feed-in tariff rate for commercial rent-a-roof operators from October 2012 to the stand alone tariff (which may be as low as 4.7p from 1 July).

The consultation acknowledges that community projects can take longer in the planning than an individual project and is proposing to develop a way of fixing the tariff at an agreed point in the planning process to give some certainty to groups that meet the proposed definition of community. The fixed rate would last for a set period - the document suggests 6 months.

However, it also identifies potential administrative difficulties with setting up such a process and invites ideas on other ways to help community projects (they don't have to be framed within the boundaries of the feed-in tariff scheme).

The consultation closes on 26 April 2012. The consultation document can be downloaded here

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