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Great Britain: RHI Delays Blamed for 35% Drop Solar Thermal Sales

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 8, 2013

Quarterly solar thermal statistics from the UK’s Solar Trade Association (STA) covering 80 % of the total market volume show that solar thermal sales have decreased by 35% in the first quarter of 2013 when measured against the same period in 2012 (see chart on the left and attached document). This news comes at the same time as the UK Government, in updating their heat strategy, announces further delays to making the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) eligible for householders: the so-called ‘Phase 2’ of the RHI scheme. This is now the second delay to the roll-out of Phase 2. When the RHI was first launched, the scheme was supposedly going to be made available to domestic customers in October 2012. However, in their factsheet published on 24 October 2012, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) stated their intention to introduce the domestic RHI “in the summer of 2013”. But then on 26 March this year DECC released a press release that the launch of this scheme will now be pushed back once more until spring 2014: a full 18 months later than originally promised. DECC now state that further confirmation and proposed tariff levels will be published later this year. In the meantime, the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme is to be extended until the end of March 2014.
Figure: Solar Trade Assocation

Scotland: “More Needs to be Done to Highlight the Benefits of Solar Thermal”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 17, 2013

In 2009 The Scottish Government instigated the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES). This originally provided funding for renewable projects including solar thermal projects when they were associated with not-for-profit communities. In March 2011 this scheme underwent a change due to the conditions that applied to the national renewable energy tariffs especially the Renewable Heat Incentive and the Feed-In tariff. Essentially now the decision for the communities became either to accept only a grant from CARES without the tariffs or find the capital funding without a grant and enjoy a long-term return from the tariffs. So the result became that only very few projects wanted to miss out on the tariffs and solar thermal applications are no longer benefitting much under the main CARES scheme. Although solar thermal had been reasonably popular in the first phase of the CARES scheme with solar thermal systems completed up to 2011 such as in schools and community centres, 2012 saw no applications for solar thermal plants within the new scheme.

Great Britain: Low Impact of RHI on Solar Thermal Market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 11, 2012

 RHI Logo Five months after the introduction of the Renewable Heating Incentive for commercial installations, the scheme’s effect on the solar thermal sector is almost zero. Of the 21 renewable heating systems approved by the end of April 2012, 16 are solid biomass boilers, 4 heat pump projects – and only one is a solar thermal system. The same imbalance can be found across all of the applications submitted to the RHI authorities. There are only 7 solar thermal projects among the 485 sent-in papers, the RHI helpline of Ofgem, UK’s electricity and gas regulator, confirmed at the beginning of May. Ofgem is in charge of paying the feed-in tariff to the owners of renewable heating systems. 80 % to 90 % of the submitted projects are based on biomass. The remaining projects all include a heat pump solution.
Source: Ofgem

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