After much lobbying from CEE over recent weeks, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has today passed The Feed-in Tariffs (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020. It was signed electronically by BEIS minister Kwasi Kwarteng, a first, apparently and comes into force tomorrow, 31 March.
It gives community FiT projects with an Ofgem eligibility date (ie date by which installations must be completed, commissioned, MSC certified and registered with Ofgem's FIT register) that falls between 1 March and 31 March 2020 at least an extra six months to complete and register which must happen by the final deadline of 30 September 2020. There is a short government Explanatory Memorandum which mirrors some of our communications with BEIS.
Duncan Law, Policy Manager at Comunity Energy England said, "we are delighted that BEIS has reacted so swiftly and proactively to our requests for an extension to the FIT completion deadline on 31 March, in the light of difficulties experienced by members as a result of the current emergency. For many community energy organisations this would have meant projects failing and financial damage that might have threatened organisations' existence. Now we will see more than 1 megawatt of extra community renewable energy capacity, at least £1 million pounds more investment in local solutions by local people and huge long-term community benefit."
STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett said: “It is great to see Government providing flexibility to community solar projects which were at risk of becoming unviable due to recent disruption. Kwasi Kwarteng has acted swiftly and decisively, and should be applauded for that, as should Community Energy England for leading the charge. The solar industry continues to engage with Government to ensure urgent needs are met during this period of uncertainty, and will be reassured by this decision.”
Thank you to all members who provided information at short notice and supported us in this process in other ways. Please do update us in due course on the difference this decision has made to your projects. We need to collate this for BEIS's and our funders' benefit. It will be especially useful if we need to ask for a further extension, which BEIS will keep under 'close review'.