Many state schools with solar panels are set to be hit with a tax hike, according to government plans, but private schools, free schools and academies will not be affected due to their charitable status. Campaigners say the move will end the installation of solar energy for most schools. The government proposes to end an exemption for small solar panel installations (less than 50 kilowatts) and charge business rates on them from April 2017. The charity 10:10 has calculated this will cost schools more than Â£820 a year for the average 10kW installation and, combined with recent cuts to the subsidy paid for rooftop solar energy, make future projects risky or uneconomic. As recently as September 2015, schools could expect to pay back the costs of installation in five to eight years, but the new regime would mean payback times of at least 12 years and perhaps never, 10:10 says.
Guardian 6th Sept 2016 read more »