The Renewables Obligation scheme is now closed to large solar farms but wind projects have until 2017

No large scale solar to be built this financial year

No large scale solar farms will be built in the next financial year, with industry representatives blaming "rollercoaster policies" for renewable energy.

It has emerged that neither of the two solar projects which won funding for 2015/2016 under the new ‘Contracts for Difference’ scheme would be going ahead after the Low Carbon Contracts Company responsible for administering payments published a register of projects today.

It means only three of the five solar farms awarded subsidies in the first auction of its kind will be built in the next few years, compared to all 15 onshore wind projects which won payments under the system.

Some large-scale solar projects will still be built under the grace period remaining from the old ‘Renewables Obligation’ system of subsidies, but that programme is now closed to solar farms over 5MW.

The Solar Trade Association's head of external affairs Leonie Greene said: "That no large solar farms will be built in the next year under either the Renewables Obligation or Contracts for Difference is a tragedy, as we predicted these types of projects could be cheaper than gas in just three years with stable policy support.”

The new scheme, which allocated payments to 27 renewable electricity projects, favours bigger players over the smaller businesses that are generally behind solar farms and large-scale arrays, according to industry leaders.

They have also criticised the Government for failing to provide a level playing field, with other renewable energy projects such as wind and tidal still able to take advantage of the Renewables Obligation until 2017.

“British solar SMEs are now having to rewrite their business plans, again,” added Greene. “For an industry that is predicted to be the dominant global energy source by 2050, the UK’s rollercoaster policies are not helping its position.

“We hope that the new government looks at this technology with fresh eyes to develop a fairer and more sensible approach.”

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