UK Government Publishes Response to Further Consultation on Changes to Financial Support for Solar PV

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

On 25 November 2014, the UK government published its response to its further consultation on changes to financial support for solar PV projects which opened on 2 October 2014 and closed on 24 October 2014. The response introduces a 12 month grid delay grace period applying in situations where a project, due to commission on or prior to 31 March 2015, fails to reach commissioning due to circumstances outside of a developer’s control.

The further consultation considered the introduction of a possible grid delay grace period of three months for new solar PV capacity above 5MW under the Renewables Obligation, following the decision to close the Renewables Obligation to new solar PV generating stations above 5MW from 1 April 2015. Following the responses received to the government’s further consultation, the government has decided to extend this period to 12 months with projects qualifying for the grace period needing to commission and have an accreditation date on or before 31 March 2016. Such projects will benefit from the ROC level in force on the date of accreditation (currently 1.3 ROCs for the period from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016).

The evidence required to qualify for the grid delay grace period is outlined below:

  • A grid connection agreement consisting of a grid connection offer; acceptance of the offer; and a document from the network operator estimating or setting a date no later than 31 March 2015 for delivery of the connection;
  • A written declaration by the generator that to the best of their knowledge, the generating station would have been commissioned on or before 31 March 2015 if the connection had been made on or before the estimated grid connection date; and
  • A letter or email from the network operator confirming that the grid connection was made after the estimated grid connection date and that in the network operator’s opinion, the failure to make the grid connection on or before the estimated grid connection date was not due to any breach of the grid connection agreement by the generator/developer.

This will provide some solace for generators and developers, who, following the recent decision to close the Renewables Obligation to new projects above 5MW, were faced with a situation where they may be denied funding under the Renewables Obligation even where connection to the grid was delayed through no fault of their own.

A link to the government’s response can be found here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

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