North-East-based renewable energy company Engenera Renewables Group has welcomed the news that Solar PV, energy storage and other clean energy technologies will be exempt from business rates rises from April 2023 – but it has also called for further measures to be considered including cuts to VAT levels for green technologies.
The plans to curb business rates were unveiled as part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget (Oct 27). Engenera has joined many other industry leaders in calling the move a major victory for the sector and one which will encourage businesses to adopt green technologies such as solar PV.
The announcement came just days before global leaders meet in Glasgow to negotiate how to curb climate change at so-called COP26. Achieving net zero means the UK will no longer be adding to the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Sunak acknowledged that the Treasury was, in part, responding to pressure from the likes of the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Property Federation in introducing new investment relief to encourage British businesses to adopt green technologies.
Sunak committed to providing business rates exemptions and relief in England for eligible green technologies to support the decarbonisation of non-domestic buildings. The move complements the government’s final report on its review of business rates, which gives more detail on how it will look to drive renewable energy generation and storage from 2023 until 2035.
Eligible technologies would include rooftop solar PV, battery storage that is used in conjunction with renewables and electric vehicle charging points.
However, despite similar lobbying from the renewables sector, the Budget included no mention of cutting VAT levels for technologies such as solar PV, heat pumps and domestic batteries.
Engenera works as a decarbonisation partner for businesses seeking a holistic solution to better manage all their energy needs and help them align with government targets. It works closely with its clients on a range of renewable technologies including commercial solar PV and battery storage; air and ground source heat pumps; combined heat and power; electric vehicle charging points; and LED lighting.
It is also one of the few renewable energy companies in the UK able to offer renewable energy installations at no capital outlay to customers able to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs). This is because it can access a £100 million green bond programme that is financed by multiple PPAs arranged by Engenera.
Lloyd Lawson, Engenera’s Chief Strategy Officer, welcomed the government announcement and acknowledged the move should encourage more businesses to invest in and embrace green technologies.
“This represents a victory for all of the companies and individuals working in solar, energy storage and other clean energy industries who have been seeking this change for some time. We see this as a major endorsement from the government for solar and other green technologies and it means that both private sector companies and public sector bodies that have previously invested in solar will receive a much-deserved reduction to their business rates bills in the future. That said, there is always more that can be done and we would encourage the government to look at reducing VAT levels on green technologies as well.”