The solar sector has welcomed the including of solar PV with the Green Homes Grant’s local authority allocation.
As part of the government’s £2 billion Green Homes Grant, £500 million of funding will be allocated to local authorities for helping to improve the energy efficiency of homes of low-income households. The Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme is expected to reduce fuel poverty, help phase out high carbon fossil fuel heating and deliver progress towards net zero.
At the end of October, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released further details as to the rollout of the LAD scheme, including technologies that could be funded through it.
Unlike the rest of the Green Homes Grant scheme, LAD included specific reference to solar PV as an eligible measure for improving the energy efficiency of a home.
Solar Trade Association chief executive Chris Hewett said they were “very pleased” to see the technology included in the scheme.
“In addition, solar PV and battery storage are now eligible technologies for the £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund, meaning there are two major funding routes for local government to deploy solar as part of their ‘build back better’ plans. We now need to see this eligibility extended to the rest of the Green Homes Grant scheme and a proper consultation on a longer-term residential retrofitting strategy.”
The details of the LAD scheme also provided updates on the times of the funding, with phase 1A open till March 2021. After calls to extend the scheme however, applicants in phase 1B will have until September 2021.
Hewitt added: “When first announced, the scheme’s unrealistic deadline of March 2021 severely limited its potential, so it is encouraging to see government also heeding our advice to extend the deadline for at least a portion of it.”
The extension follows a survey by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme that found that 44% of contractors believe it should be extended past its initial six months (September 2020 to March 2021). The same survey also highlighted calls from respondents for other technologies such as solar PV and battery storage to also be incentivised by the government.
Speaking to Solar Power Portal, a BEIS spokesperson said: “We are listening to feedback on the Green Homes Grant scheme and keeping eligibility, including technologies, under review.
“The list of technologies currently included reflects our assessment of the best balance between economic stimulus and maximising value for householders and taxpayers.”
In Phase 1A, which was launched in August 2020, BEIS has allocated £76 million of funding to 57 local authority projects that are to be delivered by the original March 2021 deadline.
Local Authorities now wishing to access funding have till 6 November to make an expression of interest, and until 4 December 2020 to apply. They will then have until next summer to work with local partners to deliver the projects, spanning insulation, heat pumps, solar thermal and other eligible technologies like solar PV.