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Small window for solar panel incentives
Posted on 6 Jan 2012 in Press News
Companies need to act now on installing solar panels if they are to beat Government reductions in incentives.
Mark Lee, partner in the real estate department at Stratford-upon-Avon law firm Lodders, said opportunities existed to claim back installation costs, but warned these mostly ran out from April.
Despite Government cuts to the feed-in-tariff scheme – how much can be earned from the electricity generated – renewable energy will continue to expand, he suggests.
Lodders has a growing niche practice helping clients with the myriad layers of legal requirements involved in such power sources. Headed by the firm’s senior partner David Lodder, it has advised on opportunities to develop “sun farms” – solar power farms – and on leases for such sites.
Mr Lee pointed out that the annual investment allowance (AIA) means companies can write off the cost of plant and machinery up to £100,000. But this is being reduced to £25,000 from April.
He said: “Solar panels that generate electricity qualify for AIA, so companies need to move quickly if they are to take full advantage.
“Given the complexities it is probably too late to get new schemes off the ground in the timeframe available. But anyone who is well on the way but thinking twice of going ahead given the feed-in-tariff changes may wish to dust down their plans pronto.
“For the moment there are still very worthwhile tax advantages to be had. Firms need to do the maths, decide whether they want to proceed, and, if so, get on with it.”
And Mr Lee said there were also intangibles in pressing ahead with solar power.
“It is not just a financial decision; there is the company’s image to consider. If you can project yourself as a ‘green’ business then you will tend to be viewed as go-ahead and innovative. That can have beneficial results when you are chasing orders. It ticks all the right boxes.”
Mr Lee believes renewables are definitely here to stay.
He added: “The Government is rightly determined to expand wind power, solar panels, biomass and other initiatives.
“It is generally accepted that we must have a balanced energy policy and not put too many eggs in one basket. That is absolutely vital if we are to maintain security of supply and not leave ourselves vulnerable to price hikes we cannot influence.
“Investments in these sectors will in my view continue to produce good returns.”