The Government is acting to put the brakes in Cornwall on the scramble for solar power farms.
Planning permission was granted last October for the UK’s first solar power farm, near Bodmin, and the Council has said that more than 60 companies have expressed an interest in setting up solar farms in the county.
However, there are fears that the commercial sector could use up too much of the money set aside to fund the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) scheme, which was initially devised with homes and small businesses in mind.
And now the Government has called for a “comprehensive” review.
Energy secretary Chris Huhne said: “Because of the risk of an increasing number of large scale solar farms which could push feed-in tariffs off track, and the need to give industry added certainty to invest, the coalition is today announcing a comprehensive review into the scheme.
“Large scale solar installations weren’t anticipated under the FITs scheme we inherited and I’m concerned this could mean that money meant for people who want to produce their own green electricity has the potential to be directed towards large scale commercial solar projects.”
While the report into the FIT scheme is not expected to be published until the end of the year, schemes that produce more than 50KW – enough electricity to power 20 homes – will face a change to their tariffs much sooner.
So far, about 21,000 schemes across the UK are registered to take advantage of the FIT scheme, which has just under £400m allocated to it. Cornwall is proving to be a particularly popular venue due to its above average sunlight.