16-12-2013 11:17 AM | Finance, News, Renewable Energy

Government support for solar and wind projects remains, says Old Mill



Government support for <a href='javascript:void(0)' class='keyword' id='19' style='text-decoration:underline;color:blue' >solar</a> and <a href='javascript:void(0)' class='keyword' id='16' style='text-decoration:underline;color:blue' >wind</a> projects remains, says Old Mill
Recent news that the government is to cut support for solar and onshore wind projects should not deter farmers from investing in the renewable technology.

According to Mark Neath, director at accountant Old Mill, there is still plenty of support for the Feed in Tariff and Renewable Obligation Certificate schemes, despite the recent negative headlines. “The announcement actually related to a new support scheme, not – as many people thought - affecting the existing FiT and ROC payments,” he says.



The new scheme is called the Contract For Difference. “The government announced prices for the CFD, and as they were lower than the original consultation, it triggered slightly misleading headlines about cuts to solar and wind support.”

The CFD will eventually replace the ROC scheme, but there is an overlap period and it will still be possible to build projects on the ROC basis until 2017, says Mr Neath. “The levels of ROC payments for solar projects do change each April, and FITs are reviewed quarterly, both of which can be checked on the OFGEM website (www.ofgem.gov.uk). Anyone interested in investing in renewable energy can check the rates which will apply to them at any time.”

In other renewable news, there have been positive announcements about the Renewable Heat Incentive. So far, the number of industrial scale heating projects has fallen well below expectations – but farmers will soon be able to install domestic biomass boilers and benefit from RHI payments.

“Up until now, on-farm biomass boilers have needed to heat more than one property to qualify for the RHI,” says Mr Neath. “It may be at least two years behind schedule, but the domestic version of the RHI has finally got an introduction date of April 2014. This means biomass boilers heating just one house will become eligible, which is great news; both for the environment and farmers, as the potential payback compared to oil looks extremely good.”

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