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E.On urges UK government to encourage, not hinder small-scale renewables

Image: Nottingham City Council.

Image: Nottingham City Council.

E.On has said the government must throw its support behind small-scale renewables as an urgent priority as the industry faces a looming policy cliff edge.

The company, which last year announced a major domestic solar-plus-storage drive in the UK, has made the call a week after the government announced plans to scrap the export tariff as part of a much wider review of policy support.

E.On’s political and regulatory affairs director Sara Vaughan issued a statement today arguing that small-scale renewables needed the encouragement as there remains “so much more left to do” in the country as it seeks to deliver on ambitious targets within the Clean Growth Strategy.

Among Vaughan’s most pressing demands were the development of a new framework to encourage domestic solar, based around so-called ‘green mortgages’ and tax incentives which would create additional draws for homes to install small-scale renewables.

And, crucially for government, these measures would not place any direct costs on consumer bills.

“In addition, we support calls to exclude solar from business rates, to cut VAT on domestic battery installations so homeowners can use the maximum amount of the energy generated by their solar panels, and also use the forthcoming housing review to ensure solar becomes standard on new homes and can be included in re-roofing projects.

“Addressing these issues is an urgent priority to ensure customers have a clear picture of the benefits and payback periods to reward the investment they make or have made in solar technology,” Vaughan said.

Green mortgages and tax incentives have been mooted by the industry as potential ways to incentivise small-scale renewables uptake without impacting on consumer bills, but they have not been explicitly mentioned by the government in any of its proposals to date.

And business rates and the way VAT is structured for domestic batteries have long been battle lines for the Solar Trade Association.

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