Recent headlines about the Government doing a u-turn on guaranteed returns for installing renewable energy schemes will not impact on many small businesses in the South West, according to one of the region’s sustainability specialists.

While the Government is threatening a halt to “solar-farms” proposed by investment companies, they remain committed to the original aim of providing financial incentives for households and small businesses to install renewable energy systems.

This is the view of Ewan McClymont, head of the grants and renewable energy team at South West accountants, Bishop Fleming.

“Despite the recently announced Government u-turn on ‘Feed-in tariff’ installations, in response to a raft of large-scale applications, they remain committed to the original concept for this scheme.

“Installations below 50 Kilowatts remain unaffected. That means that the installation of renewable energy schemes, including solar and wind-power, is still a great investment for small companies in this region."

He points out that Ofgem has recently published the new Feed-in-tariff rate for the coming year, with rates increasing by almost 5% in line with the Retail Price Index.

“That means that small businesses or households that have installed solar PV delivering 4 kW could generate annual income and savings of around £1,750 said Bishop Fleming’s Ewan McClymont.

He also highlights the opportunity to use the Carbon Trust’s Energy Efficiency Financing Scheme and the South West Cleantech Co-investment Fund, alongside tax-benefits for investment in energy-efficient investments.

“While Chris Huhne may be proposing a significant reduction in the tariff levels for all new solar PV installations above 50kW in size, he is not totally shutting down the benefits of that scheme to small businesses, public bodies, charities and private homes whose projects fall within the ‘microgeneration’ threshold,” said Mr McClymont.

“There is no doubt that many businesses can still reduce their energy costs by installing renewable energy systems”, he added.