Solar electricity campaigners are celebrating success in their struggle to remove VAT from domestic batteries retrofitted to homes already benefitting from PV panels.

Victory in the tax battle coincides today with standards body the MCS confirming 2023 has again smashed records for solar PV installations.

Up to early December, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme logged 183,022 certified PV installations this year, beating 2022’s full total by one third. Now an estimated 2 million UK homes, plus thousands of commercial buildings, make subsidy-free clean power on their roofs.

After years of representations from industry body SolarEnergy UK, the government this week corrected its anomaly of charging householders 20% VAT on power storage devices retrofitted to homes.  New generating equipment had long attracted 5% VAT at most.

Solar install, Kings Langley (Image: JT/Tanjent)

Solar install, Kings Langley (Image: JT/Tanjent)

As many as a million homes with rooftop panels may have been put off installing batteries, say installers, when confronted by the VAT anomaly.

From next February, VAT will no longer apply to domestic BESS, ministers announced. The concession also covers water-source heat pumps and diverters, a technology that redirects excess power from solar or other renewables to a specific load or appliance, usually a water heater.

Despite the VAT wrinkle, battery installations at both initial and retrofit stages have grown wings this year.  Today’s MCS figures reveal a total 4,400 of the nation’s 4,700 MCS-certified BESS devices were installed in 2023, nearly 800 in November alone.

Read more: theenergyst