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How do I ensure the solar PV for our new build gets 21p FITS rate?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 March 2012 at 1:13 pm

Q: We are at the start of a new build in Buxton Derbyshire. The foundations are in place and the walls start to go up at the end of April with a completion date of mid July for the build (excluding the internal fitting out of kitchen, bathroom etc). When would we need to have a solar PV system commissioned to gain the 21p rate of tariff?

A: The rate feed-in tariff is 21p for all installations that have an eligibility date before the 1 July 2012. However, for self-builders such as yourself, there is a catch here. The eligibility date is not the same as the commissioning date.

To be 'eligible' your system must be commissioned and your feed-in tariff supplier (energy company) must have received your application. Depending on your FIT supplier a phone call or email may be adequate to get your application registered before a cut off date, but you would be wise to check in advance if you aim to do this.

Your application must include the MCS document from your installer and, from 1 April 2012, an energy performance certificate (EPC) demonstrating that the house has achieved a rating of band D or above (building regulations require a higher standard of energy efficiency than this). This is where the problem lies, as you will not be able to get an EPC before your build is finished, and if you apply without an EPC you will only get 9p (and no chance to get a better rate later when you do have the certificate).

So if you can get the house to the stage where an EPC can be done before the end of June, you'll be OK. If not, you are looking at a lower, as yet unknown, rate.

This rate is still under consultation, but is expected to be between 13.6 and 16.5p. If you feel strongly about it, then there's still time to respond to the consultation, which closes on 3 April. 

Photo by Martin Pettitt

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