Financial incentives for people generating electricity with photovoltaic solar panels (PV) are provided though the system of renewable obligations certificates, (commonly referred to as ROCs).
All electricity providers have to buy these certificates each year, in proportion to the amount of electricity they sell. This started at 3 per cent in 2003 and the intention is to increase it to 15.4 per cent by 2015. They can either generate their own renewable energy or buy certificates from other generators. If they fail to secure enough each year they must pay a fine.
Since April 1st you get two ROC for each MWh of renewable electricity generated, this is up from one ROC previously. One ROC currently has a value of around 10p per kWh.
For home generators the electricity companies have a variety of schemes to make it easy for you to sell your electricity, and the prices they pay you have gone up to reflect the introduction of double ROCs. Selecting the best scheme for your will depend on how much electricity you use during the day. Scottish and Southern will pay 28p / kWh for the electricity you export, Good Energy will pay 15p / kWh for every kWh you generate even if you use it yourself. This will generate an income between £127 and £221 each year per kW peak of installed capacity.
The introduction of double ROC’s has the potential to decrease the actual kWhs the electricity companies have to supply from renewables. However, at the same time as double ROCs were introduced the percentage of supply that must be covered by ROCs increased from 9.1 to 9.7 per cent. I believe that the assumption is that as most of the ROCs will come from large scale projects, the impact of the double ROCS for microgenerators will not distort the market significantly and we will still see a growth in the kWh of renewable energy year on year.
photo by Kevin Miller