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Guest Article: Split Solar Schemes where there's a community interest

Alongside the changes to the FiT Order that came into force on 1 April 2015 Ofgem and DECC have released updated guidance enabling schemes to be split into two FiT projects with one grid connection where a community ownership scheme is involved.

Ofgem has issued Feed-in Tariff (FIT): Guidance for Renewable Installations (Version 8) which repeats the four criteria for defining a ‘site’ for the purposes of gaining FiT accreditation. This new Version 8 makes a significant change in relation to the MPAN rule, which means two installations can share a grid connection when at least one of them is owned, or is to be owned, by a “community organisation”.

DECC has released guidance on ‘”community ownership models” under the FiT which sets out under which community ownership model projects will be able to access the community FiT provisions. (see here for full guidance).

There is now potential for schemes for over 5MW which did not succeed in the CfD auction to split and utilise the remaining capacity over 5MW in conjunction with a community ownership scheme. However, the approach of the DNO at present remains unclear. Will they be willing to deal with two entities or prefer one entity up to the MPAN meter (any split connection past this point being a private arrangement)? 

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These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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