Paul Barwell, Chief Executive, Solar Trade Association, said: “If we want a modern, clean economy it makes no sense to load crippling business rates on the very people who are taking care to invest in our future.
“These self-defeating proposals couldn’t come at a worse time for the solar industry – rooftop solar deployment is at a six year low. The last thing solar needs right now is an extreme and nonsensical tax hike.”
“Public sector organisations such as schools, hospitals and businesses who have invested in solar panels to generate energy for their own use, will be affected by business rate rises of up to 800% from April (300-400% for schools and hospitals and 600-800% for businesses). The industry fears that people will be deterred from installing solar panels in the future.
Recent government funding cuts have already caused more than ten thousand job losses in the UK solar sector. A report by PwC last year put solar sector job losses at more than 12,000 – representing a third of industry jobs.
“We urge the Chancellor to do the right thing and to drop the solar tax hike in his Budget next week. Following the Paris Agreement, the government should be striding ahead with investment in UK solar power, not curbing the industry with unmanageable tax hikes.
Meanwhile, pupils from a primary school in Camden, north London, have visited the Treasury to deliver a petition from 200,000 people asking the chancellor to drop a business rate tax hike that threatens their school solar project.