Sheffield Renewables Newsletter
We are delighted to announce that we have delivered our third community owned renewable energy scheme, a 50kW solar array panel at Attercliffe police station. This project is part of wider efforts by South Yorkshire Police to increase its sustainability, which will also help to reduce energy costs and Attercliffe Police Station will now benefit from a 20% reduction in their energy bills and an annual saving of 16.5 tonnes of CO₂.
This means that almost all of the capital raised in our share offer at the end of 2012 has now been spent and is producing green electricity.
We would like to work towards developing 500 kW of renewable energy in the Sheffield City Region over the next 5 years. Work has started to identify more suitable sites, and we are always looking for more. We have completed feasibility studies on all the school roofs in Sheffield, but if you know of other possible sites, please do contact email@example.com Proposals by the current Government to scrap renewable energy subsidies will make this more challenging (see below), but we are committed to exploring new ways of funding schemes.
Clive Betts' visit
We were pleased to welcome Clive Betts, MP to our office at South Yorkshire Energy Centre in January. He gave his wholehearted support to the work we are doing. The latest project on Attercliffe Police Station falls within his constituency. We were also pleased to receive support from MPs Paul Blomfield, Nick Clegg, Harry Harpham (who sadly died recently) and Louise Haigh when we challenged the government over the cuts to the feed-in-tariff.
Feed in Tariff Review
We were deeply disappointed (but not very surprised) at the results of the review of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Large cuts to the tariff will be implemented. They are not as drastic as first proposed, but this is little consolation as the FiT will no longer be a means of making our community owned solar schemes financially viable. For example the rate for our last scheme was 11.3p/kWh, this would drop to 4.59p/kWh if the scheme had been commissioned after 8th February 2016.
The solar industry was working towards managing without subsidies by 2020, but this now won't happen. The resulting impact on the industry will become apparent in the coming year. The results demonstrate a lack of commitment to support for renewable and community energy and will no doubt affect investor confidence.
To summarise the key points, particularly of interest to Sheffield Renewables:
The rate banding currently used by Sheffield Renewables will be cut to 40% of existing rates
Deployment caps will be introduced, limiting installations to around 2000 or 68 MW per year
The degression* of this rate will be 10% each quarter if deployment caps are met (*this means the amount of the Feed in Tariff will go down by 10%)
The export rate will be maintained at its current rate, 4.85 p/kWh
There are no provisions for community energy, but this will be kept under review by DECC
DECC also recently announced that renewable energy investments will be excluded from the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). These offered tax breaks to investors that saw our members receive 50% of their investment back through a tax rebate.
To end on a positive note, these cuts do not affect our existing schemes, that will continue to receive FiT payments as set when they were commissioned. We are still very much committed to developing community energy schemes.
We have recently been awarded funding through the Urban Community Energy Fund (see below) to develop further schemes - part of this will be to explore alternative ways of financing schemes.
Project Manager appointed
With the Urban Community Energy Fund money mentioned above, we have been able to appoint a Project Manager to find our next three solar PV schemes and produce a business plan to finance them. Julia Carrell started work on Monday, February 8th supported by the board and a small team of volunteers.