Monday, 20 June 2011

Sun sets on public funding for solar on community buildings

I had cause to read 'The Feed In Tariffs (Specified Maximum Capacity and Functions) (Amendment) Order 2011 document. I should get a good book you might say, but my reason for reading this was because I'd been informed that it would prevent small community organisations installing solar PV panels benefitting from the Feed In Tariff if they had received public money. This was particularly important in Kirklees due to the Community Buildings Energy Grants which had appeared due to a Lib Dem amendment to the council budget last year (for details see this blogpost from Feb 2010). Ironically the Con/Lib Dem Government now threatened to pull the rug from under the scheme taking all the lasting benefits and making the 'Big Society' somewhat more difficult to acheive. Schemes like the solar panels for Newsome South Methodist Church were under threat.

I spent a good hour or so reading, and re-reading the document to make sure I was right but could see that according to the 'Amendment to article 8' on page 4, that if grants were paid to community organisations before the end of June and the solar panels fitted before October then the Feed In Tariff would remain intact for those churches, sports clubs and community groups seeking funds from the Community Buildings Energy Grant. I made the relevant officers and the Leader of the Council aware and soon the Chief Exec was geting involved finding ways to fast track the grants. Hopefully many schemes which were under threat will now proceed but this is a one off loophole which will soon close. With further reviews of  feed in tariffs on the cards confidence among the renewables industry is not exactly at an all time high.

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