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Call for action for commercial rooftop solar

19 April 2017

An urgent call to address the lack of support for commercial premises with solar PV installations has been made by the Solar Trade Association (STA).

It has published a summary of solar deployment following the end of the Renewables Obligation scheme in March and "shock business rate rises for rooftop solar".

Commercial solar retrofits have amounted to the national equivalent of just one large factory roof per month, says the STA.

Data published by the association shows installations of more than 50kW fell by 65% in Q1 2017 compared to average deployment in 2016.

The technology is also excluded from the renewables auctions, which currently sees included technologies bidding for £290m of new funding.

Official figures for solar deployment up to 7 April confirmed the "worryingly low deployment of rooftop solar", despite the launch of the new Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme over a year ago.

STA chief executive officer Paul Barwell said: "With policy crunch points clearly hurting solar this spring we urge government to act now to stabilise the industry.

"Solar power led global renewables growth last year and it has an extraordinary future everywhere.

"But solar is being needlessly impeded in the UK by shock taxes, red tape and by a serious failure in the only remaining supportive policy.

"We repeat our call on the government to table the simple secondary legislation needed to stop the extreme and anti-competitive business rate hike for rooftop solar," he said.

The STA is calling for Enhanced Capital Allowances and PPA exemption from the Climate Change Levy for commercial rooftop installations, as well as addressing the FiT policy to "smooth the transition to a subsidy-free framework".

It is also requesting that utility-scale solar be allowed access to CfD auctions.

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