WESTMINSTER'S Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) has confirmed the closure of the Feed-in Tariff – the incentive payment introduced in 2010 that prompted the roll-out of renewable energy technology across UK farms and estates – to new applications after March 2019, including the closure of the export tariff.

Until now, that export tariff has provided a floor level for the price for any electricity sold to the grid by schemes developed under the FiT, in addition to the generation tariff, giving investors and funders considerable reassurance that their projects would be protected from volatile power markets. Such was its success that the FiT is credited as the foundation of nearly 850,000 installations.

The end of the tariff, which effectively removes a route to market for anyone looking to sell excess electricity to the grid, was an expected part of the current government's retreat from renewable energy incentives – but still goes against what many respondents to the government’s consultation on the matter had asked for.

The only ray of hope for the sector is that BEIS has indicated that it will now be conducting a further consultation to identify a potential replacement for the export tariff.

In the meantime, with the closure of the old scheme only weeks away, there are only limited opportunities to capitalise on the outgoing tariffs, unless projects are already well progressed through the planning and development process. The shortest route to a share of the FiT would, said Henry Brown of Savills, be a roof top solar installation, as such projects can be eligible for permitted development rights, and therefore should be able to accredit for FiT before April 2019.

"We await further announcements from BEIS on the nature of any future support mechanisms that may be introduced in the future," said Mr Brown. "However in the meantime it appears that the small scale renewables market in the UK will need to develop ways to realise projects without financial support from government.

"With the closure of the Renewables Obligation in 2016, the only remaining renewable support mechanisms are the Renewable Heat Incentive, which supports low carbon heating technologies, and Contracts for Difference, which is designed to support large scale renewables development e.g. offshore wind," he added.