With the announcement of Phase Two of the UK’s Solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) emerging yesterday, the respective Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings and their relationship with the FiTs can now be reviewed. This article will explain what an EPC is, the ratings properties will need to access the full FiTs and how best to go about achieving the required ratings.
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The Energy Performance Certificate
Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact
An EPC is comprised of two main assessments; Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact.
Energy Efficiency is self explanatory; reflecting how effectively energy that is needed around the property is used. A higher rating means a more effective use of energy. Environmental Impact is essentially a measurement of how much Carbon Dioxide is emitted from the property. The higher a rating on the Environmental Impact rating; the less CO2 is emitted.
EPC’s show the current and potential energy usage of a property through the government’s approved Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). The basic underpinning of the SAP Rating is a points based system ranging from 0 to 100. When a property has an EPC assessment it is given a SAP rating score within this margin, higher scores denoting more efficiency.
The SAP bands have been divided into seven categories that summarise a property’s energy efficiency and environmental impact.
- A: 92-100 SAP Points
- B: 81-91 SAP Points
- C: 69-80 SAP Points
- D: 55-68 SAP Points – SOLAR FIT MINIMUM
- E: 39-54 SAP Points
- F: 21-38 SAP Points
- G: 1-20 SAP Points
The DECC have established that a property must have a minimum EPC rating of category ‘D’ in order to receive the full FiT’s. If a property has solar panels installed after April 1st, 2012 and has a lower EPC rating than ‘D’, it will only be eligible for a generation tariff rate maximum of 9 pence per kWh. Basically, it is not a wise move to install solar under such circumstances; so all properties installing solar after April 1st 2012 should aim to have their ECP ratings above ‘D’ before doing so.
Establishing a D Rating
Okay so properties will need to have at least 55 SAP Points to be eligible for the full FiTs. The DECC have claimed that approximately 51% of domestic properties in the UK will already be at this level. It is also estimatedthat approximately 65% of all commercial properties may already pass into this band. EPC assessments can be arranged through registered organisations, vary in cost greatly and are necessary before FiT applications and solar installations are carried out.
- Domestically expect to pay from £40 – £80 for an EPC assessment. The process should take two to three hours to complete.
- Commercial building owners need to be aware that an EPC assessment involves a comprehensive and usually more expensive process. It is recommended that you shop around and compare quotes from several outlets before soliciting the process, but expect to pay at least £150.
There are a few relatively cheap and straightforward improvements to a domestic property that will contribute to achieving an EPC ‘D’ rating.
- Condensing Boiler – 47 SAP Points
- Cavity Insulation – 13 SAP Points
- Roof Insulation – 10 SAP Points
- Cylinder Stat and Insulation – 8 SAP Points
- Double Glazing – 4 SAP Points
- Low Energy/LED Lighting – 2 SAP Points
The majority of homes will already have a condensed boiler, meaning a simple and relatively cheap insulation of the roof or cavity wall will result in EPC ‘D’ status right away. For this reason, home insulation stands to be the single most effective method for domestic properties in becoming solar ready. Solar Selections work with some of the most prominent insulation services in the UK and can arrange a no obligation survey for you immediately. Home insulation usually costs between £100 to £300 and pays for itself alone in less than three years. Contact us today for more information on this and other methods to increase your EPC rating, compare our comprehensive network of solar quotes and start saving on your bills.
Written by Jarrah Harburn
T: 020 7205 2267
© 2012 Solar Selections Ltd
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