In June this year we reported on the Scottish Government's consultation on permitted development rights for non-domestic solar panels. The consultation proposed that there be no output limit for the use of permitted development rights. The response to the consultation has not been issued so it is not yet known whether the proposals will be implemented.
This week's announcement by the Scottish Government that Scotland will not be following England and Wales in removing grandfathering for solar PV projects of 5MW and below is a further indication of a more favourable attitude towards the industry north of the border.
In July, a consultation was issued proposing the closure of the Renewables Obligation in Great Britain to new solar projects of 5MW and below, and to capacity added to existing stations up to a total of 5MW total installed capacity. It was proposed that this closure take effect from 1 April 2016. The Scottish Government was not consulted in advance on this proposal and has expressed concern about the negative impact that it will have. However, it is unable to take a different stance on this point.
The July consultation also proposed the removal of grandfathering for solar PV projects of 5MW and below that were not accredited as at the date of the consultation (22 July 2015), unless they could satisfy the criteria to qualify for a grace period.
Grandfathering policy is devolved to the Scottish Government and it has confirmed that grandfathering will remain in Scotland until the closure of the Renewables Obligation in April 2016. This is to ensure that projects benefit from certainty in relation to the level of support that will be available for the lifetime of the project.
After all of the negative announcements of late, perhaps there is hope for subsidised solar projects – in Scotland anyway.
Contributor: Alexandra Holsgrove Jones
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