Finance experts at this year’s Solar Future UK conference, taking place in London on 26th June, will claim that there are more options available for funding solar PV projects than ever before.
Many installers focusing on Feed-in-Tariffs alone may be missing out on other project opportunities to sustain their businesses. One funding alternative is through Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) financing, as solar industry expert, Ray Noble (pictured), explained, “Projects over 5MW are ineligible for FiTs payments but will receive incentive payments under the Renewable Obligation – and there’s no capacity limit for systems funded under ROCs. Some of the bigger players have pipelines of PV projects in place using ROC funding, but we need to do everything we can to raise awareness of ROCs in the solar industry.”
Bruce Davis, managing director of Abundance Generation, has researched the potential for crowd funding for renewable energy projects. He said, “Retail finance and crowd funding have previously been seen as niche or small scale sources of funding for solar and other renewable technologies, but our research suggests that there is untapped latent demand for long term investment products whose return is based on producing sustainable, renewable energy amongst mainstream customers.
“As more platforms come to market we will see a big shift in the ownership and investment profile of renewable energy away from the relatively rich few and towards the many – something which will benefit the industry in the long term as it seeks to demonstrate the benefits of green growth to the mainstream.”
Giovanni Terranova, founding partner of Bluefield Partners LLP, a specialist asset manager for solar PV infrastructure, sees increasing opportunities in the UK market for installers and investors. “The UK solar industry has reached an important and exciting stage in its development and has the opportunity, for the first time, to be the cornerstone of the government’s onshore renewable policy.
“Due to significant cost reductions in the price of modules, the solar industry in the UK is now a cost effective solution in comparison to other renewable technologies. Solar has the potential, using lower subsidies, to see to a significant increase in installed capacity over the coming years and to be a major part of the government’s 2020 renewable electricity target. The 22GW target set and confirmed by the government has the potential to transform the UK market in one of the most interesting markets in Europe over the next few years. For Bluefield, a specialist investor into large scale ground based or commercial rooftop installations, we see increasing opportunities in the UK market for installers and investors.”