With the current government feed-in tariffs (FITs) for solar PV making investment in the technology financially attractive, councils across the UK are being offered a range of deals for private solar financing schemes.
At our CSPS events this July, we heard about one such scheme being offered by the company Cameron Alexander.
The offer led to a great deal of discussion amongst our delegates. In particular people were concerned that any agreement for solar financing would have to go through a procurement process.
This point is crucial because, with the current tariffs likely to reduce after March 2012, projects and finance agreements need to be signed off within the next couple of months to allow panels to be installed by the end of March deadline.
If solar financing schemes do need to go through a procurement process, than it will be very difficult to put a timetable in place that allows for installed panels to be operational by March.
The result of not being able to have such schemes in place by March is that FITs are likely to be reduced following the deadline, making any subsequent solar offers less financially attractive to local authorities.
While the discussions at our events did not reach any firm conclusions, we have since heard from one of our delegates, who has passed on to us some legal advice that suggests local authorities may not need to go through a procurement process.
This is clearly a useful piece of information for the debate, which needs to find more certainty in the coming weeks and months.