Coalition legislation now means UK homes must be greener to qualify for the higher Feed-in-Tariff

Since 1st April 2012, the Coalition Government has brought a new energy efficiency requirement for householders installing solar PV into force. Consequently from now on only UK homeowners with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of Band D or better (with an “A” rating being the best) will be eligible for the standard tariff of 21p/kWh for each unit they generate. For properties with EPC’s of E, F or G (with G being the lowest performing homes energy efficiency wise) householders will only now receive the lower rate tariff of 9p/kWh should they decide to install solar panels, or indeed decide not to improve their homes so they achieve an EPC or better.

An article on the Energy Saving Trust’s website entitled “Energy Performance Certificates and the Feed-in-Tariff” states that “If you have an EPC which shows that your property is a band E, F or G you will need to carry out energy efficiency improvements before you apply for the FITs or receive the FIT at the lower rate of 9p/kWh for the lifetime of the tariff, currently 25 years.”

Energy efficient improvements  that may be required to get a property to Band D or above could include replacement energy efficient “A” rated windows and doors, loft insulation, a new boiler, floor insulation, energy saving light bulbs, lagging pipes and cavity wall insulation.

The Energy Saving Trust website goes on to explain “New rules on the payment of the Feed-in Tariff (FITs) for solar PV installations are coming into force on 1st April 2012. From that date you are required to send to your FITs supplier an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) showing that your property has an EPC band D or better at the time of your application to receive the standard rate of FITs of 21p/kWh (for a system under 4kWp) rather than the lower rate of 9p/kWh.

If your property is a band E or less when you first apply for FITs then you will receive the FIT at the lower rate. Note that even if you improve your property’s EPC band to a D or higher at a later date you will still get the lower rate.

This requirement applies only to new solar PV systems and extensions of existing solar PV systems installed from 1st April 2012. This is not a retrospective requirement for existing solar PV systems. At a later date these requirements may also apply to wind turbines and micro-CHP (both currently under consultation).”

The EST article concludes by stating “This new requirement has been introduced by the UK Government because they want to ensure that homes meet minimum standards of energy efficiency before they encourage the installation of solar PV. The UK Government states that this is because reducing demand for energy is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing carbon emissions and therefore a process that should be prioritised before installing microgeneration technologies such as solar PV. The UK Government state that â€ŔCurrently, around 51% of all dwellings are rated at EPC level D or above, and 47% of all dwellings except flats (this compares to 13% of dwellings at EPC level C or above)”.”

Find out more about the benefits of installing PV solar panels


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