Solar PV export payments ruled out for extensions to existing installations

Ofgem confirms the solar industry's fears by ruling that extentions to existing Solar PV systems are not only not eligible for FIT payments, but also aren't eligible for export payments.

It was clear from DECC's consultation response that anyone wishing to add extra solar PV capacity to a site with existing Feed-In Tariff (FIT) registered solar PV systems would no longer be eligible to receive Feed-In Tariff payments for the extensions. However it wasn't at all clear whether these systems would still be eligible for export payments, with several FIT suppliers we contacted last week saying that they assumed that such installations would still be eligible for export payments.
On page 25 of the Feed-In Tariff guidance for renewable installations v10, released today however, Ofgem clearly state that this is not the case ;-

    3.77. Any extension to an accredited FIT installation that is commissioned on or after 15 January 2016 is not eligible to receive FIT     support. This applies to both generation and export payments. 

At Leeds Solar we already had 3 previous customers lined up who were wanting to fit battery storage to their existing system and add additional panels at the same time despite this being ineligible for FIT payments. This was just about economy with the export rate being paid, it remains to be seen whether it will be viable without even export payments being made.

This seems to us to be a particularly unfair and innecessary change to the system, as the export payments at 4.85p/kWh really aren't a subsidy. We struggle to see what justification there is for this change.
We hope that some of the more enlightened Feed-In Tariff suppliers will find a mechanism for these installations to receive payments from them via power purchase agreements without the need for costly half hourly export metering being fitted. In the meantime though this perverse decision risks preventing a market developing for entirely unsubsidised additional solar PV capacity being added by enthusiastic owners of existing solar PV systems. We'd love to hear the Minister explain why DECC want's this to happen.

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