Energy contract auctions put solar power generators in the shade

Solar TRade Association new logoBy DARA BUTTERFIELD

The Solar Trade Association has warned that the government’s energy-supply contract auctions are putting solar power generators in the shade.

An STA spokesman explained; “We’ve now had the results of the first round of CfD auctions and there is clearly a problem for solar and small and medium sized players. It looks like the UK solar industry will develop no large-scale projects over 5MW this year (2015/16) as a direct result of Government policy.

“Yet solar power needs just one more period of stable policy to reach competitiveness with fossil fuels. This is clearly a self-defeating outcome for energy policy.

“As MPs on the Commons energy committee have reported,, the auctioning process has thrown into sharp relief DECC’s decision to hand out contracts worth billions to more expensive technologies – and the solar industry is paying far too heavy a price.

“Energy policy now lacks a coherent rationale for allocating resources so it is important that every possible step is taken to try to mitigate perverse outcomes. That includes improving the accessibility of CfDs to smaller players, who are essential to diversifying ownership and competition in the power generation markets.

“However, the overall policy framework for solar now requires urgent attention – wider policy changes are needed to maintain the great progress of this extremely popular and affordable technology.”

The STA has emphasised the importance of the House of Commons Energy Committee report in implementing the Government’s Electricity Market Reform programme ahead of its publication.

The spokesman added: “This committee’s report is important because the final details of the Contracts for Difference (CfDs) process arrived so late in the day there was no Commons scrutiny of the likely net impact of this policy before it went ahead.

“This report is therefore the first comprehensive House of Commons scrutiny of Electricity Market Reform and its recommendations must be noted – in particular the need to make changes to CfDs to better support small and medium sized businesses ahead of the next round of auctioning in October 2015.”

Meanwhile the STA is to officially launch its new logo (above) this week. The trade body, which was founded in 1978, will unveil the new look – designed Cambridge University students – which still puts the Sun at the centre of attention.



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