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Is the extension of my solar PV system eligible for higher rate FITs?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2013 at 9:08 am

Q: We originally installed 7.23 kW Solar PV for our home a few years back that qualified for the higher band of feed-in tariff (FIT). Just this month we have installed an extension of an additional 15 kW. We understood this to be an extension to the original system and that the extension would be eligible for the current rate of FIT. We also obtained an EPC (energy performance certificate) that showed our home to be rated at C (80). Today we completed the E.ON FiT application and went to hand deliver it to their office in Bedford. We've been told that this extension is only able to qualify for the lower rate of FiT (7.1p), since apparently the rules state that showing the EPC certificate at the time of the application is only applicable to new applications. I've tried to find information on this on the EST website but it only refers to new applications. Are you able to confirm where we should stand on this as I feel that E.ON are mis-informing us.

A: I was rather surprised to hear this story, as your original installation was before the EPC requirement came in, so you wouldn't have shown an EPC then. A little digging indicates that the nub of issue seems to be about what stage you had EPC done for the extension of your PV system.

I asked Ofgem for their interpretation of the rules, and this is what a spokesman said:

“This is likely to be a question of when the EPC was issued. A FIT installation is only eligible to receive the higher tariff rate if the EPC is issued on or before its Commissioning Date. For an extension to an existing FIT installation the date from which FIT payments can begin (when it is installed and MCS-certified) known as its Eligibility Date, is considered its Commissioning Date. If the EPC is dated after that date it is treated in the same way as a new application without a valid EPC or exemption letter.”

So, as I understand it, if your EPC was dated before the eligibility date of the extension, you should be eligible for the higher tariff rate. If it was after, you'd get the lower rate. Do let us know how you get on with E.ON.

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2 comments - read them below or add one

Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 21 January 2013 at 3:43 pm

@GreenerSky Have you got the latest version of the rules? Version 5 of the guidance says in Definition of extension 2.61: With the exception of stand-alone installations, extensions to solar PV installations from 1 April 2012 need to meet the new energy efficiency criteria in order to receive the higher tariffs.

2.63 says Where a FIT installation is extended using the same technology tuype, the extension is assessed as a separate Eligible Installation. If successfully accredited, the extension will be assigned a separate eligibility period and separate tariff code based on the aggregate of the total installed capacity of both the extension and the existing FIT installation. Both installations will, however, share the same FIT ID on the Central FIT Register.

The EST website says: "

The rules are slightly different for an extension. If you add solar panels to an existing system, the eligibility date for the new panels is always the date they were commissioned, not the date that you send your revised claim in. This is particularly important if you want to claim the higher rate by submitting an EPC. The EPC must be dated before the commissioning date or you will not get the higher rate."

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GreenerSkyComment left on: 21 January 2013 at 9:49 am

I would say that the EPC is irrelevant to a large extent as the Ofgem rules state that the higher tariff rate will only appy to PV extensions if they are installed within 12 months of the original systems confirmation date.

Full details can be read here

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