Silence from Chancellor leaves rooftop solar facing unprecedented business rate hike

After no announcement from the Chancellor to drop business rate hikes of up to 800% on organisations using their own rooftop solar, the STA is concerned for 44,000 solar microgenerators, who are currently exempt from business rates, and who face a nasty shock from April.

The tax hike comes as rooftop solar deployment is at a six year low. The STA has been pressing Government for nine months to drop the rate hike, which does not reflect the increased rental value of properties.

STA, CEO, Paul Barwell, said: “We are dismayed that responsible organisations that use their own rooftop solar are still facing an extreme business rate rise of up to 800% from April. Some fossil fuel technologies are already exempt from business rates, and today the Chancellor again took special care of oil and gas. It is surprising that the Treasury’s tax policies tend to yesterday’s technologies while putting clean, modern solar at a competitive disadvantage. The Chancellor says he wants the UK at the “cutting edge of the global economy”- his tax policies for energy risk the opposite.”

The STA will continue to oppose the business rate rise and will now look to Parliament to support corrective action.

The STA was also disappointed that the long-term price signals investors need through the Carbon Floor Price have been deferred to Autumn. Moreover, there was nothing in the Treasury announcement on replacing the LCF that gives clarity to solar power which has been shut out from competitive access to wholesale markets.

Paul Barwell, said: “Government continues to cherry pick more expensive technologies while shutting solar out of competitive auctions, even as its industrial strategy prioritises cheap power. This means business and consumers pay over the odds for decarbonisation, and competitive pressure is weak.

Suppressing solar in the UK is no way to ‘prepare for a global future’. Solar already dominates clean energy investment globally and it is expected to expand dramatically. It is also set to be the cheapest source of power in the world so countries that embrace solar will have a competitive advantage.”