Renewables proponents sound alarm on Govt. review of small scale Feed-in Tariff

Juliet Davenport, Chief Executive, Good Energy
Juliet Davenport, Chief Executive, Good Energy

The Government has today published its review of the Feed-in Tariff scheme, which supports small-scale renewables, proposing cuts to Tariffs and caps on the number of installations.

The move has caused great alarm within the solar industry as the scheme is dominated by solar PV installations – the UK’s most popular energy source according to DECC polling. This review has been anticipated for some time but it is the third installation in a summer of shock policy announcements that have thrown the British solar industry into turmoil.

Mike Landy, Head of Policy, Solar Trade Association, said: “The proposals put forward by the Government today, which will now undergo a period of consultation, would be hugely damaging for the UK solar industry and we are now consulting quickly with our member companies as to how to respond.

“We will provide a detailed response shortly, once we have considered the proposals in more detail. However, we regret that proposals to suddenly cut Tariffs combined with the threat of closure of the scheme next January will spark a massive market rush.

“This is the antithesis of a sensible policy for achieving better public value for money while safeguarding the British solar industry.”

The Solar Trade Association has since written to the Prime Minister with 100 council leaders, community energy groups & professional bodies urging him to maintain ambition for the Feed-In Tariff scheme and highlighting the low forward costs of ambitious deployment.

Juliet Davenport, Chief Executive, Good Energy, said: “The proposed cuts mean that installing solar panels at home will no longer be attractive to British families.

“The Feed in Tariff has transformed the way the UK generates its power over the last 3 years, with over 22% of the UK’s power coming from renewables in the early part of 2015, and over 700,000 homes generating their own power. It’s helped to take us away from the old-fashioned fossil fuel companies to a cleaner, local, more democratic system.

“We hope the government will re-think the value that renewables bring to the market, if you do the calculations you’ll see that solar actually brings down wholesale prices of energy. China and Germany are leading the way in investing in renewables, and we hope that the recent announcements by Government don’t see the UK fall behind again.”

Stakeholders can now feed back to the government, with the deadline for responses 23rd October 2015.

A spokesperson for RenewableUK said: “It’s important that we all work to manage costs, but it looks as if the long term vision has been lost.

“The small and medium wind sectors are at one with Government in their desire to cut carbon at lowest cost to the consumer. But they can’t do this when Government makes sudden and damaging changes which undermine investment.

“What we needed in this Review was a clear vision for how we get to a point where cost effective, small-scale renewables are common-place, with all homes and businesses able to be part of a productive, vibrant low carbon economy. This Review is not about how we build that prosperous future but simply about short term politics and accounting.

“We’re also concerned about the timing of this review. Only last month Government consulted on ending pre-accreditation. Now they are consulting on reducing tariff rates, and capping deployment. But such significant changes can’t be introduced within the proposed January 2016 deadline without hurting many businesses and individuals who have been investing in new projects. The next four months will turn the British energy market into a wild-west market with energy consumers stuck in the middle.”

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