There’s been a lot of talk about the end of the solar subsidy known as Feed in Tariffs (FITs).

For eight years FITs were the basis on which nearly 1 million UK buildings installed solar panels. In March 2019 FITs were summarily scrapped. 

This, many posited, meant UK solar is sunk, right?

Well, not quite. Contained with the process of ending FITs were a series of exemptions. And I’m pleased to say that Brighton Energy Coop (BEC) has secured these exemptions at thirty sites, which means we can continue building new solar and qualifying for Feed in Tariffs – until March 2020. The total capacity of our exemptions is 2.5MW.

While this is not going to solve the world’s climate issues, it does mean that BEC – and other community energy groups who have secured similar exemptions – have a lot of work to do over the next twelve months.

Recently completed BEC Community Solar at Ore Valley College near Hastings, 250kWp

Join BEC and Let’s Get it Done

Recent climate news is horrible. It’s so obvious that – more than ever – we need to be building new renewable energy.

So: if you want to see the pipeline outlined below become a reality then I’d ask that you consider joining BEC (see here for more information). Or, if you’re already a member, you could add to your existing investments – as many of our 500 members have done.

Everyone gets a projected 5% return on investments, and all funds go to creating new solar. Investments start at £300.

Support our work and lets get it done.

Lady Bee Business centre Solar PV shoreham Port

February saw us building this 90kWp solar System at Lady Bee Business Centre in Shoreham Port, now completed.

Our Work to April 2020

Our pipeline for the next twelve months consists of thirty buildings with a maximum total capacity of 2.5MW: around ten schools, various leisure centres and colleges, some swimming pools and a selection of local businesses. The first four of these are four Brighton and Hove primary schools: Carden Primary (see pic below), Coldean Primary, Woodingdean Primary and Rudyard Kipling Primary.

Solar for schoolsCarden Primary School – 180kWp of new Community-owned Solar planned for installation in summer 2019

For a detailed look at these four have a gander at p3 of our share offer document here – look out for more sites being announced throughout the next twelve months (you can follow us on Facebook here and Twitter here).

By beavering away like mad things for the past three months, our project development team of Matt Brown and Damian Tow have secured what’s called “pre-registrations” for these thirty sites. Pre-registrations are OFGEM-issued exemptions which ensure these qualified sites will get new FITs – even after the scheme’s official closure.

It’s worth noting that the solar systems we’ve already built are not affected by the end of FITs – these will continue receiving FITs as usual. So our basic business model is not affected by last month’s events.

The University of Brighton’s Grand Parade building = part of a 60kWp BEc solar system completed in December

Support Solar? Get behind BEC!

While our impressive new pipeline is no panacea for the end of FITs, it’s an opportunity to keep new solar coming onstream.

Indeed, since FITs’ demise, our exemptions mean BEC is now one of the few remaining organisations that continues to build new PV systems in this country. This is simply because – without FITs – solar does not work financially for anyone else.

So if you support solar then it’s fundamental to show your support. You can invest here. Alternately, you might like to share this blog post with your friends and colleagues and let them know that UK solar is not dead. Finally, we have a big voice on social media – follow us on Facebook here and Twitter here.

Over the eight years of FITs’ existence, the ship of fools that oversees energy in this country have done a great job in spotting the rocks in renewable energy’s path – and heading straight for them. BEC and similar organisations have continued despite this renewable energy piracy.

The waters are choppy. But by investing in BEC today you’ll be helping keep UK solar afloat.

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