What about maintenance?

The solar panels will be roof mounted on the buildings. As the panels age performance will decrease and the inverters will need replacing. However, modern solar PV are extremely reliable and are expected to continue to generate electricity beyond the 20 years with little maintenance required. Inverters are expected to have a life span of around 10 to 15 years and costs for replacing them during the project are included in the financial model. The manufacturer’s warranties will be sought along with insurance. Remote monitoring will be in place so Directors will be altered as and when any maintenance is required.

What is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme?

To be eligible for the FIT both the installer and the equipment needs to be registered on the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). LiveWire Community Energy Limited will ensure that the installer and the equipment are fully MCS compliant and eligible to receive the FIT.

Can LiveWire Community Energy lock in the FIT for non-domestic properties?

Yes once we got approvals such as connecting to the grid.

Back in 2012 the government included the ability for organisations, such as LiveWire Community Energy Limited, to pre-register FIT solar installations for up to 12 months ahead of completion for non-domestic buildings. This means that we can pre-register schemes at the current FIT and have up to 12 months to install the solar without a reduction in the FIT.

I have heard that the FIT keeps reducing?

Yes that is right sometimes they can reduce every 3 months depending on how much solar has been installed.

Back in 2012 the government introduced changes designed to make FIT arrangements for solar more responsive to the falling capital costs of new projects. These changes included a reduction in the length of FIT contracts from 25 years to 20 and the introduction of a new mechanism, known as quarterly degression. This is when FIT rates could reduce every quarter depending on the amount of new solar capacity registered for FIT in the preceding quarter.

Can the FIT reduce when you’ve installed and registered the solar panels?

No. Once the solar panel has been registered the FIT is fixed for the duration of the FIT contract (currently 20 years) only increasing with Retail Price Index.

What is the Feed in Tariff Scheme?

The Feed in Tariff (FIT) is an environmental programme introduced by the government in April 2010 to promote the use of small scale renewable and low carbon technologies. Once registered under the scheme the FIT pays for the amount of electricity generated and a lower tariff for any electricity exported back into the grid.


  • Generation Tariff: A set rate is paid by the energy supplier for each unit of electricity generated. Once the installation is installed and approved this rate is guaranteed for 20 years and is linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) which ensures that each year the rate follows the rate of inflation.
  • Export Payment: A lower set rate is paid for every unit of electricity exported to the grid. The export payment is also linked to the RPI which ensures that each year this payment increases with the rate of inflation.
  • Energy Bill Saving: The electricity that the solar PV system generates is used to reduce the building’s energy bills.

The FIT rates applicable to a project depends on its size and the technology it uses.

How Does a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System Work?

A Solar PV system is an array of thin panels consisting of cells made from one or two layers of semi-conducting materials. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The panel converts the sunlight into Direct Current (DC) and this is then converted to 230 Volt Alternating Current (AC) by running it through a power inverter.

The change from DC to AC enables the electricity to be used or fed into the National Grid. The stronger the sunshine the more electricity is produced, although the PV cells do not need direct sunlight to work which means that they can still generate electricity on a cloudy day, although in reduced quantities. For example, a small solar PV cell runs your desk top calculator based on the same principles just on a smaller scale.