Energy Performance Certificates and the Feed-in Tariff
Posted on the 3rd September
To get FITs at the standard rate for solar PV your property needs to have an Energy Performance Certificate of band D or better.
If you have an EPC which shows that your property is a band E, F or G you will need to carry out energy efficiency improvements before you apply for the FITs or receive the FIT at the lower rate of 7.1p/kWh for the lifetime of the tariff, currently 20 years.
If you have no EPC, you can use the tools on this website to get an indication of the EPC band for your property and suggestions of what you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your property to gain a higher EPC band rating, before you pay to get an EPC done.
New rules on the payment of the Feed-in Tariff (FITs) for solar PV installations came into force on 1st April 2012. From that date you are required to send to your FITs supplier an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) showing that your property has an EPC band D or better at the time of your application to receive the standard rate of FITs rather than the lower rate.
If your property is a band E or less when you first apply for FITs then you will receive the FIT at the lower rate. Note that even if you improve your property’s EPC band to a D or higher at a later date you will still get the lower rate.
This requirement applies only to new solar PV systems and extensions of existing solar PV systems with an eligibility date on or after 1st April 2012. This is not a retrospective requirement for existing solar PV systems. At a later date these requirements may also apply to wind turbines and micro-CHP (both currently under consultation).
Why is this now a requirement?
This new requirement has been introduced by the UK Government because they want to ensure that homes meet minimum standards of energy efficiency before they encourage the installation of solar PV. The UK Government states that this is because reducing demand for energy is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing carbon emissions and therefore a process that should be prioritised before installing microgeneration technologies such as solar PV. The UK Government state that “Currently, around 51% of all dwellings are rated at EPC level D or above, and 47% of all dwellings except flats (this compares to 13% of dwellings at EPC level C or above)”.
What is an EPC?
Much like the multi-coloured sticker on new appliances, EPCs tell you how energy efficient a building is and give it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). They let the person using the building know how costly it is likely to be to heat and power, and what carbon dioxide emissions there will be. Once produced EPCs are valid for ten years. The EPC will also state what the energy efficiency rating could be if improvements are made, and highlights cost-effective ways to achieve a better rating.
How do I get an EPC?
If you bought or rented your property after 1st October 2008 you should have received an EPC from the builder (for a new construction), seller or landlord when you bought or rented your property. If you did not receive one, you can report this to your local trading standards at the Trading Standards Institute website. They can issue a fixed penalty notice of £200, but to meet the requirements of the FIT you will have to proceed on the basis that you have no EPC.
If you have an EPC it will state on the first page under the table headed ‘Energy Efficiency Rating’ the current and potential band rating of your property. For an example of what this might look like, download a sample EPC from the DCLG website.
- If the current rating of your property is a band D or better and your EPC certificate is less than 10 years old then you need take no further action in order to receive the FIT at the standard rate, other than sending the EPC Certificate to your FIT licensee when you register your installation.
- If you have an EPC which shows that your property is a band E, F or G you will need to carry out energy efficiency improvements before you apply for the FITs or receive the FIT at the lower rate for the lifetime of the tariff, currently 20 years.
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