Renewables firms call for removal of business rates 'barrier'

13 Aug 20

Trade bodies representing the renewables industry has written to chancellor Rishi Sunak requesting a package of tax measures to help the sector.

Organisations including the Renewable Energy Association and the Solar Trade Association are calling for business rates and VAT relief to renewable energy and clean technology industries.

They say that the move would help unlock billions of pounds worth of projects and thousands of jobs this industry can create.

The letter said: “In the context of a green recovery, immediate, temporary tax relief for those technologies that are part of the net zero transition, would allow shovel-ready projects to immediately come forward, and give confidence to investors to support the industry as it recovers.”

It asked the Treasury to provide business rates relief for clean energy technologies and undertake reform of business rates and VAT for renewables and storage to unlock investment.

In addition, the 5% VAT discount for energy saving materials should be reinstated, with the definition expanded to include air-source heat pumps and charging equipment, the letter said.

The bodies said that business rates are “flagged as a barrier to deployment of clean technologies”, particularly those that are installed behind-the-meter at commercial and industrial sites, and small businesses. 
it said that supermarket chain Lidl recently incurred a business rates increase of 530% by installing solar panels across several of its sites.

In addition, the rateable value of heat networks amounts to £10,387 per kilometre of pipeline, against £2,382 per kilometre for gas transmission and distribution networks, the groups said.

The bodies claimed that the renewable and storage industries have a pipeline of projects worth £125bn to the economy.

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