Solar Roof

HMRC to raise VAT to 20% on solar battery systems – EU to blame?

HMRC today pushed for legislation to raise VAT from 5% to 20% on solar battery systems. Why? Apparently because the EU ruled that reduced VAT rates amount to a state subsidy, which is not allowed. Hence the UK needs to get in line.

HMRC pushes steep VAT increase for new solar-battery systems

Treasury proposes rise from 5% to 20%, while the tax on coal will stay at lower rate

I’m generally pro EU but here is an example where its behaviour is wrong, for numerous reasons but not least for slowing the rate of uptake. Strikes me that a stand could be made on matters like these, if the Government had the balls to challenge the EU.

For property people and home DIYers there is an important caveat to be aware of. The 20% rate applies to HARDWARE ONLY, installation charges should continue to be charged at 5% VAT.

Halt the solar and storage VAT hike

This hike is certain to hit innovation and investment in the UK’s growing solar and battery storage market. Not to mention the vital progress on decarbonising heat, which according to the Spring Statement is a strong focus for this government. There could not be a more contradictory step following the declaration of a climate emergency by parliament.

As with all these things there is, of course, a petition to lobby and apply pressure not to bring in the raise. This one courtesy of 38Degrees. I have signed for all it may be worth – better to do a little something than nothing though, right?

Pub lounge

Off market potential commercial conversion project

We are currently treading softly on a totally off market potential deal to convert a pub in one of Harrogate’s outlying villages. This is a significant single plot development project which, if the right investor can be found, we could more pro-actively push forward. We might also be able to work with the vendor for the right development scheme, converting it into either a c.£1m house with a work / leisure annex or up to 2x SA / holiday cottages.

Although we would intend to secure and undertake the development ourselves on this project, we might well be prepared to package and sell it on as a deal to a suitable development partner.


The one that got away. Lessons to be learned?


As we all know, deals ‘fall out of bed’ all the time. The co-working project is just another one, having fallen through today.

Although, this one is a bit unusual as the reason it will not be going ahead is that the prospective landlord / vendor signed up another party to their site without any indication.

We had conducted a little over 2 months of due diligence, specifying our product, the scope of works required, JV partner relations, etc. including 3 site visits and then conducting competitor and market research.

So are there any lessons to learn from this? From a due diligence point of view, no. We had to do what we had to do. Perhaps we could have been a little quicker but then we needed to make absolutely sure of our project parameters given it was a new partnership and a new business.

From the point of view of conversations with the landlord / vendor, yes, we could have done differently and better.

We always consider good communication as essential in everything we do and perhaps, on this occasion, we didn’t maintain frequency of contact. Having arranged a meeting to finalise contracts just under 3 weeks into the future, we didn’t want to hassle the other party so assumed, and then found after 2 weeks the bomb was dropped. Perhaps a friendly weekly call may have prevented this from happening. We can’t know but we won’t be making any more assumptions in the future – so the lesson? – keep checking in regularly with the other party.