Swindon Council is considering a new community solar project that would offer residents a 6% return on any investment for the next 20 years. The Council will meet next Wednesday (10 February) to vote on the Swindon Community Solar Farm project, which would be the first of its kind in the UK to allow residents to invest directly in council solar bonds. The proposed 5MW farm would cost £4.8m to construct, with £3m coming from the council’s investment, and the remaining £1.8m from community investors. Investors and the council would reap 35% of the profits, with 65% going towards local community initiatives. The solar farm would generate enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 1,200 typical homes and save around 2000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Swindon has an aim to install 200MW of renewable capacity by 2020, enough to meet the equivalent energy requirements of every home in the borough. A total of 140MW has already been built or is being planned.
Edie 4th Feb 2016 read more »
Installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in your home is a better investment than depositing cash in the bank. According to Stephen Munday, Managing Director of Clean Energy Installations, householders can achieve a 10% return on the outlay in the form of reduced energy costs. This more than four times the return many savings accounts offer in annual interest on cash deposits. Munday said: “Even allowing for the fact the government has slashed its Feed-in Tariffs – the financial incentives for investing in renewable energy – people are still seeing their energy bills drop by an average of £550 every year.”
Scottish Energy News 5th Feb 2016 read more »
The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) has criticised the government’s plans to exclude solar from the lower rate of VAT assigned to energy-saving measures (ESMs) as part of its response to an EU court ruling. The European Court of Justice ruled early last year that the current rate of 5% violates the EU’s VAT Directive, insisting that the full 20% be paid on all ESMs. In response, HM Revenue and Customs released a consultation in December outlining proposals to keep the tax relief on all measures, with the exception of power generators such as solar panels, wind turbines and water turbines. Its reason was that these technologies could not be considered to ‘renovate’ a property, which serves as a condition of qualifying for the lower rate of VAT. However, in its response to the consultation, ACE claims there are “reasonable and substantial grounds to consider solar thermal and solar PV in certain cases”, such as when integrated solar panels are used as a roofing material. The response also draws attention to the use of solar thermal systems as an integral part of a property’s heating system. With other technologies providing heating services – such as heat pumps, biomass boilers and micro-CHP – being considered as renovation solutions, ACE questions why solar thermal has been excluded on this basis.
Solar Portal 4th Jan 2016 read more »