Government confirms closure of export payment for new solar generators – before any clarity on what comes next

Over 60% of people [1] say they want to install solar power yet the Government confirmed today it will end not only the Feed-In Tariff, as expected, but also the export tariff, which provides a relatively fair payment to people putting clean energy on the networks (albeit at a level significantly below 2018 average wholesale prices).

The Government published their response to the consultation on the Feed-in Tariff today, which delivers another disappointing blow to the solar industry and to the general public who want to engage with clean energy. Over 60% of people [1] say they want to install solar power yet the Government confirmed today it will end not only the Feed-In Tariff, as expected, but also the export tariff, which provides a relatively fair payment to people putting clean energy on the networks (albeit at a level significantly below 2018 average wholesale prices).


STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett said;

"BEIS has taken this decision even before it sets out how it will overcome a really fundamental market failure that risks seeing new solar homes put power on the grid for free from next April. At a bare minimum, Government should retain the export tariff until an effective, alternative way to fairly remunerate solar power is implemented.

Nobody is saving any money here because the export tariff is not a subsidy. Last month Energy Minister Claire Perry said that she would not allow a situation where solar generators would have to give away their power for free. We urgently need her to set out the detail behind plans for an export floor price as soon as possible to prevent the uncertainty that todays announcement will create from damaging market confidence any further. The STA has proposed a number of viable options, so there is no justifiable reason for delay."

345 responses were submitted to BEIS - an enormous response to any consultation with 91% of respondents of disagreeing with the closure of the export tariff. Similarly ignored is the STAs letter to Claire Perry in August now signed by over 350 organisations requesting the export tariffs continuation [2].

Chris added; "We are also concerned that the government has given no indication of requirements for consumer standards and the MCS scheme."

Whilst noting the concern expressed in many responses regarding the potential loss of the MCS quality assurance requirements with the end of the FIT, this was similarly ignored highlighting the Government's lack of due regard towards consumer standards and safety. Practices of mis-selling could become more prevalent given a policy gap, with a promise by the Government of a future route to market being available and no clarity on how this might work. Furthermore, it is clear from the Governments response that the UKs obligation with regards to Renewable Energy Directive II (which requires fair remuneration 'at market rates' for solar generators exporting to the grid) has also not been properly considered.

Notes to editors
[1] Client Earth survey; https://www.clientearth.org/british-public-supports-urgent-action-and-litigation-on-climate-change-poll-reveals/

[2] the letter and signatories can be viewed online; https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/sign-letter-on-export-tariffs/

[3] The Renewable Energy Directive II will be ratified on the 21st December and it includes for the first time under Article 21 legal recognition of prosumers and a range of legal protections to ensure they are treated fairly in the energy system. This includes fair remuneration at market rates for solar exported to the grid by small generators.



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