STA response to Government announcements on energy storage

Solar Trade Association Press Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
24 July 2017

STA response to Government announcements on energy storage
Government publishes response to Smart Energy Call for Evidence & Faraday Challenge

The STA welcomes the announcement of battery storage and reviews to the rules making it easier for homes and businesses to install the technology alongside PV panels. However, the announcements today will enable only modest progress. The majority of the points in the Government’s 29 point plan are simply a restatement of existing commitments. The STA would like to see a clear timeline for the delivery of barrier removal to storage.

STA Policy Manager Chris Hewett:

“The solar industry in the UK is gearing up for the integration of PV panels and battery technology. Our research shows that a high penetration of batteries alongside solar power would reduce overall costs to the electricity system and allow the country to have cheap solar at the heart of its power system.

As we have seen with solar panels, a favourable policy framework can drive down costs of technology very quickly and create markets. It is vital that the Government gets the charging, taxation and regulation of storage right from the start or innovations that will benefit the consumer risk being held back. Today’s announcements are a start but there is a lot to do and a clearer timetable is needed.”

Modest policy changes welcomed – more action needed

As with any innovative and disruptive technology, the policy and legal system is not set up to accommodate it, which means there are currently few markets for storage. If we want to take advantage of the potential of solar and storage then we need to get the rules right, and fast before innovation is stifled. Policy changes are needed to enable storage to work with solar at all scales.

Key changes welcomed by the STA today are:
– Government will legally define storage in primary legislation
– Storage will be unbundled from network operators to allow competitive markets to develop
– Progress should be coming from Ofgem shortly on a level playing field for storage in the capacity markets
However, for domestic solar & storage more action is needed:
– VAT at 5%; there is currently confusion on VAT charging, with the risk of 20% charges
– Clear and up-to-date consumer data to ensure accurate assessments of possible onsite consumption and storage
– Type testing for small-scale batteries
For large-scale and business solar the STA also wants to see:
– Fair business rate treatment for onsite storage
– Access to markets rules need to change faster so that the role of storage in network management is unlocked in markets, including in grid deferment, capacity markets and balancing
– Rapid resolution of the current double charging for storage
– Planning issues for storage resolved

ENDS

For further information or to request an interview, please contact:
Name: Chris Hewett
Title: Policy Manager
Tel: 0203 637 2948

Background on the Solar Trade Association:
The mission of the Solar Trade Association is to empower the UK solar transformation. We are paving the way for solar to deliver the maximum possible share of UK energy by 2030 by enabling a bigger and better solar industry. We represent both solar heat and power, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for solar PV and solar thermal.