The clock is ticking. Last month climate minister Greg Barker made it painfully clear that incentives currently on offer to solar farm developers are for the chop.
If politicians were still allowed to use the phrase after Vince Cable's embarrassing little indiscretion, Barker might almost say that he has "declared war" on solar farm developers.
Speaking at a meeting of the Micropower Council he left everyone in no doubt he is not a fan of the current level of feed-in tariff support for solar farms.
"I will not allow the hard-won available funding to be scooped up by a few industrial-scale PV farms at the expense of the domestic or small business installations," he said. "At the moment there is no cause for undue alarm but if the current growth of solar farms shows signs of getting out of hand, I will act. Speculators and hot money should find another home for their investments."
BusinessGreen has also learnt that Barker is now actively seeking proposals on how to curb support for solar farms and it looks likely changes could be made early next year.
Leaving aside whether it is fair to refer to companies and investors that have spotted an opportunity and are willing to stump up the money needed to build solar farms as "speculators and hot money", it seems plain that solar farm developers are not going to win this argument.
The incentives are undeniably on the generous side, and the minister is convinced the feed-in tariff should be targeted at rooftop and small-scale installations, and he is clearly in no mood to change his mind.
Developers can argue until they are blue in the face that solar farms are more cost-effective than rooftop installations and that rolling them out will help to reduce panel costs. The government is simply not listening.
All of which leaves only one option open to developers: it's time to get a move on.
It seems likely that they will have a matter of months to get financing finalised and push projects into the planning system before the incentives are either cut or axed altogether. It is a Catch-22 scenario because any rush of planning applications will only reinforce Barker's view that developers are taking advantage of the system and encourage him to act even more swiftly to change the rules of the scheme. But for individual developers keen to get the best returns on their solar investments there is no option but to try and beat the imminent change in support levels.
The race is on.
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