DECC ends Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) pre-accreditation

The Government has announced it will be removing pre-accreditation for all new participants in the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme from 1 October.

The announcement, made yesterday by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, is the latest in a series of cuts to renewable energy subsidies, which Ministers claim will prevent energy bills from rising any further.

Pre-accreditation means solar farm developers can a fixed tariff level before construction work, installation or acquiring the necessary planning and environmental permits and grid connections has been completed.

“Our support has already driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly,” said Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd.

“As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies, which is why we’re taking action to protect consumers, whilst also protecting existing investment.”

But Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association said the Government has “simply ignored the overwhelming opposition from across the renewables industry and beyond”.

“Renewables and solar are all about giving power to the people – this is going in the opposite direction,” said Ms Greene.

“This removal of pre-accreditation and the devastating cuts to tariffs are both going against the tide of public opinion where 80% of people support solar power, more than any other technology.”

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith commented: “It’s disappointing that the Government has decided to press ahead with the removal of pre-accreditation while the wider Feed-in Tariff review is still active. 

“However, at least the Government has come clean that this change is a short-term measure designed to bring about a temporary moratorium on new projects, while bigger changes to support for wind, solar and other renewables are pushed through.

“The industry fully understands the need to control costs. Restoring pre-accreditation would keep costs to a minimum and protect consumers. For the Government’s proposed deployment caps to work under the reformed Feed-in Tariff, the re-introduction of pre-accreditation is a vital measure to ensure sufficient projects go ahead.”  

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues