The renewables industry breathed a sigh of relief when the Industry Minister announced the new rates of subsidy for small scale solar PV – that’s installations up to 50 kW.
Originally it was proposed to cut the rate of support from 4 ROCs to 1.6 ROCs for new installations from April this year.
A ROC is worth about 4p for each kWh generated. So at 4 ROCs, for every unit of power created, a household has been getting around 16p in subsidy plus of course a saving, coincidentally also worth 16p, from not having to buy that kWh of electricity. The planned change would have cut the subsidy to just 6p a kWh.
The argument for reducing the subsidy was based on a drop in the cost of PV panels many of which are made in China.
The Minister has now made two concessions. First she delayed introducing any change until October this year.
Then today Arlene Foster announced the subsidy will be cut for new installations to 3 ROCs or around 12p a kWh from this October dropping to 2 ROCs or about 8p a kWh for new installations from the following October.
Reassuringly for those with panels or intending to get them soon, the rate of ROCs you start with is the rate you retain.