Renewables claiming feed-in tariffs rise above 8,000

Growth rate slows in August, but surge expected with ‘PV for free’ schemes

The number of microrenewables claiming support from feed-in tariffs (FITs) has now reached more than 8,000, according to Ofgem's online register.

FITs started in April and pay the owners of micro- and small-scale renewables a tariff per kilowatt hour of electricity generated (ENDS Report, February 2010).

The register shows there were 8,602 installations claiming FITs on 1 September – 94% of them are domestic solar PV systems (see table). These could generate 32 megawatts of peak capacity electricity, equivalent to about 10 onshore wind turbines.Installations claiming fits

There are only 89 installations on commercial or industrial premises claiming FITs, although these account for almost 7MW of the installed capacity.

Ofgem is still yet to reveal how many renewables receiving FITs are actually new units and how many previously claimed support under the Renewables Obligation (RO) and have transferred to the new scheme. Up to 3,500 units registered under the RO could have transferred. Ofgem says it will reveal this data in the autumn.

The number of new installations in August was about 1,000, the lowest monthly total since the scheme began. However, the growth rate is expected to increase again as 'PV for free' schemes take off. These involve businesses installing solar panels on householders’ roofs in return for the FIT revenue (ENDS Report, August 2010).

Centrica became the first major energy company to launch a 'PV for free' scheme at the end of August. It says it will install panels for free on an initial 1,500 properties. Separately, it has also started selling panels directly to customers under the brand name mySolar Energy.

The UK needs 750,000 electricity microreneables installed by 2020 to meet its EU renewables targets, according to the energy department (DECC).