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Solar PV does count towards new energy efficiency criteria

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 February 2012 at 10:58 am

Buildings must meet strict energy efficiency criteria from 1 April to qualify for the full level of feed-in tariff. When the government announced the change earlier this month it was not clear whether or not the solar PV installation would count towards the Energy Performance Certificate level D or not.

Now the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed that it will. First in a tweet to YouGen it said: "@YouGenUK @linniR policy is that building needs to be at level D, we don’t specify how this is reached – see EPC info".

Yesterday DECC has enlarged on the 140 characters allowed by Twitter, saying to Business Green: "People would need to have the EPC certificate before they apply for support under the feed-in tariff, but they could decide installing solar panels forms part of the property reaching Band D".

The spokeswoman added that different properties may require varying amounts of energy-efficiency measures to reach Band D. While some will require insulation or a new boiler, others may only require solar PV to gain a Band D certificate.

Generators must submit an EPC as part of their application to their FIT supplier to receive the feed-in tariff. In buildings that currently do not have an EPC, it is possible to get a DEA (domestic energy advisor) to advise you on what, if any, additional measures you would need to reach the required level.

A number of energy efficiency measures, such as loft and cavity wall insulation and draught proofing measures will have quick returns on investment and instant improvements in comfort. There are lots of really good deals to be had on insulation in 2012, and it is unlikely to ever be as cheap again once the Green Deal is launched in October.


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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5 comments - read them below or add one

Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 17 November 2014 at 10:14 am

Hi jlt

The RHI payments are based on your home's heat demand figure on your EPC, not the rating. However, those with a lower rating will generally be more expensive to heat, which means the relative heat demand will be higher, so RHI payments will be larger.

As to installing solar PV to lower costs of the ASHP it won't directly lower the amount of electricity you buy by much as the times you most need your heating are the times when solar generation is at is lowest. However, if you are planning to stay in your home for the long term, it may help with the costs once the feed-in tariff has paid off the installation costs.

Solar thermal is a good pairing with an ASHP, as it will heat the water for most of the summer, so you don't need to use the heat pump or the immersion much. It also is eligible for RHI.

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jltComment left on: 16 November 2014 at 12:00 pm

Is it correct that the lower the EPC the higher the RHI payments for an ashp?Mine was F in spite of external ecocork insulating render on stone listed grade 2 building-

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jltComment left on: 16 November 2014 at 11:57 am

I recently had an ashp installed.It is proving to be very expensive to run re electricity costs-it is 16kw Samsung-heats my 4 bed listed stone built grade 11 listed ex water mill quickly and is certainly warm enough-immersion on once a week for an hour to heat water to required 60c-I have ufh all ground floor-one big room and kitchen,and large sized rads upper 2 floors.All new.Would it be cost effective to add PV ,say 1.5 system,to cover the electricity costs?-or solar thermal?-I have sw elevation on roof,but neither the space or funds for a bigger pv/solar thermal system.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 27 November 2012 at 3:43 pm

Hi Arabella

The system of eligibility is different solar PV than it is from other technologies. For wind and hydro there are no energy efficiency criteria. For the renewable heat incentive (biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal) the requirement is that you have a green deal assessment (these will be available shortly) and do all the thermal efficiency measures that get a green tick. To get a green tick they must be cost effective enough to meet the golden rule - ie a finance package can be arranged where by you pay back a loan out of the savings on your energy bill that result from installing the measure (you don't have to take out the loan if you prefer to pay another way). As I understand it internal and external solid wall insulation will not get green ticks. So you will not be prevented from accessing the renewable heat incentive.

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Arabella Moore

Arabella MooreComment left on: 21 November 2012 at 12:44 pm

I have been carrying out research on what renewables I could install in a period home.  It seems that there may be real difficulties in achieving the appropriate grade of energy efficiency to qualify for feed in tariffs or renewable heat incentive payments in such homes.  I have a small stone farmhouse dating from the 18th century.  It's main charm is the the stone walling, the hard ash floors and the aged plaster.  Whilst I have topped up the roof insulation and can put in double glazing without altering the appearance of the property detrimentally,  it seems to me that I cannot insulate the walls or floors either inside or out without destroying those features that everyone likes so much.  The property is not listed but there must be many similar that are and in those cases the owner would simply not be allowed to change the features required to improve the energy efficiency of the house.  Does anyone have any comment, experience, tips or ways around this problem?

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