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DECCs 2020 solar ambition achievable with major contribution from solar parks


Solarcentury and Lightsource Renewable Energy have expressed concern about the decision to delay the outcome of the ROC banding review. They have called on the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to recognise the role that solar plants can play in delivering the Government's 2020 renewable energy target.

The companies' call comes as they near completion of three utility scale solar developments totalling 11 MWp, the equivalent of 5,500 household installations. All three developments will be completed before the feed-in tariff (FIT) for large-scale developments drops from 8.9p to 7.1p on 1 August. Upon commissioning, these assets will become the latest additions to the existing Lightsource Renewable Energy operational asset portfolio.

For the remainder of this financial year, investment into the development of solar plants is likely to switch to the Renewables Obligation which remains at the equivalent of the current 8.9p feed-in tariff rate for the remainder of 2012/13.

Frans van den Heuvel, CEO, Solarcentury said: "We see a very positive future for further utility scale solar plant developments under the Renewables Obligation (RO) through the remainder of 2012/2013, but we are concerned that the delay announced [today] jeopardises future investment. Solar plants can play a major and cost-effective role in the UKs clean energy future. They are easy to deploy, effective and broadly welcomed by the public and business community alike. As such, Solarcentury is calling for the Government to encourage, not hinder their progress."

Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource Renewable Energy said: "It has been made very clear over the last few years that solar power is a key component in the UK's drive towards its renewable energy targets. We hope solar subsidies like FIT and ROC schemes will continue at sensible levels to assist in keeping solar competitive with other energy sources thus supporting our ultimate goal of reaching grid parity. This would also help to build a stable and profitable industry that will no longer need to rely on government incentives by as early as 2017 if current estimates prove accurate"

Since early 2011, Lightsource Renewable Energy and Solarcentury have completed 22MW of solar parks together across Cornwall, Cambridgeshire, Devon and Oxford. These include two 5MW parks, one of which was completed in under eight weeks at Chittering in Cambridgeshire. Another notable project is Wheal Jane in Cornwall, where the old contaminated mining site has been rejuvenated into a clean technology hub to provide power to thousands of local homes and businesses.


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