We deliver a council programme installing PV to schools. Although all the schools already have DECs, to qualify for FIT a school needs an EPC and not a DEC (we've obtained chapter and verse from Ofgem on this). The problem is, lots of commercial installers are approaching our schools directly and just using the existing DECs, and they seem to be getting away with it. The cost of an EPC makes a big difference to the business case - we've been quoted somewhere between £500 and £2000 depending on the size of the school.
Have any of you come across this problem? Any ideas welcomed!
In Reading, we had this problem. As you said Ofgem were extremely uncompromising and in the end we arranged for our solar provider to give us a 'cost price' EPC. This reduced the cost dramatically.
Given that you already have a DECC, you will only be interested in the most basic service EPC, so your solar provider might be prepared to do you deal on it?
We are on the National ESPO framework for EPCs, DECs and other energy surveys.
Our rates for EPCs for schools, even up to up 10,000m2 are generally under £500. NEPes does not aim to profit out of these surveys, rather we aim to cover our costs and ensure that the surveys lead to investment in energy, carbon and cost savings.
We are working with schools across the UK. Schools are either purchasing our services directly through ESPO, if they are ESPO members, or through LA framework contracts.
As an environmental social enterprise, we are very keen to encourage carbon saving installations of renewable energy in schools, we have worked on several of these projects. For this reason if schools are developing PV projects, we are happy to offer similar rates to the high volume based rates on our ESPO contract.
Jerome Baddley CEnv MIEMA BSc(hons) PGCE
Sustainability Services Manager
NEP Energy Services Ltd
As a social enterprise and a registered charity, 100% of our profits are reinvested in public health and carbon reduction projects.
Direct: 0115 985 3005; Office: 0115 985 9057; Email: Jerome.firstname.lastname@example.org; Web: In The Workplace | Nottingham Energy Partnership
NEP Energy Services Ltd is a trading arm of The Nottingham Energy Partnership Charity Number.1091513
You do need to get an EPC done to claim the Feed-in Tariff. A couple of things that may help you are; firstly the feed-in tariff guidance states that
"2.88. Where the energy efficiency requirement applies applicants are required to demonstrate that the building to which the solar PV is wired to provide electricity has achieved an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of level D or above in order to receive the higher tariff."
"2.105. Where an installation is wired to provide electricity to a number of buildings that are relevant buildings, only one of those buildings needs to satisfy the energy efficiency requirement."
The wording means (as far as our experience goes) that if a smaller building is wired to the same meter that the PV installation is wired to you can get an EPC done for the smaller building and submit that.
Also, if any of your schools were built after ~2008 the construction company is obliged to provide an EPC when the building is finished (details in EPC guidance on the DCLG website.) We managed to save a bit of money by chasing up a construction company who hadn't provided the EPC for a couple of schools built in 2009.
Thanks to everyone who's responded to this so far.
Below are two more responses that were emailed:
I have come across cases were the school has used a DEC rather than an EPC. The main issue is that a DEC can often show a much better rating than an EPC (and vice versa) which means the school may not be eligible for the higher tariff and could get into difficulty if they were found out.
This is bound to continue if the FIT approval body accepts DEC or, more likely, doesn’t know the difference between DECs and EPCs.
- Richard Holmes
In response to your query from Simon Winch the schools will have to have a current EPC (rated D or above) if the owner of the PV wants to claim FiTs.
Given the work involved in producing the EPC, which is proportional to the size of the building, the prices quoted are not unreasonable.
- Malcolm Potter
Thanks for sending these through.
- CAN National Secretariat
Typically £500 or below is reasonable for most but the largest schools. EPCs are though increasingly just bits of paper to meet legislation with limited value in their own right. Even the recommendations reports should be taken with a big pinch of salt. Many, (Though not all) EPC assessors are not technology experts or engineers and just know how to punch the numbers into the software. This means that these reports are not very helpful in making future investment decisions, decisions on whether a solar system will perform or not or in making SALIX interest free loan applications. (if you don't know what SALIX is google it, it is worthwhile!)
I would suggest however if you are purchasing an EPC anyway, it is a great opportunity to get a proper energy survey done of a school, as long as you recruit a knowledgeable energy surveyor to do the work. While we are in schools anyway, we tend to offer schools a proper energy independent energy survey for a small amount extra. This can them be relied on to justify spending money or applying for a SALIX loan for example. With SALIX the additional cost (but not the EPC cost) can be rolled in with the loan application.
Some Free PV companies will also offer to pay for the whole lot, EPC included.
- CAN National Secretariat
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