Government solar plans risk leaving industry with just £7 million of support over next three years

Monokristalline Solarmodule vor sonnigem HimmelNew analysis from the Solar Trade Association has revealed that the Government is planning on spending even less on solar in England-Wales over the next three years than many commentators originally thought.

However, this does not apply in Scotland. See also:

Scottish Energy Minister gives ‘grandfather’ boost for Scots solar power projects

In the Feed-in Tariff Review (FiT) consultation published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change last month, draconian cuts to the tariff for domestic solar of up to 87% are proposed, together with stringent maximum deployment caps.

The STA has conducted a detailed analysis of the Government proposals which shows they would result in a maximum of just £7 million of support on new solar deployment under the Feed-in Tariff scheme from next year, over the next three years (2016-2018).

Spending in England-Wales will fall from a current run rate of less than £70 million per year to £2 million per year, or a 98% cut in the total budget.

The solar industry has had all other forms of support removed over the summer, and there is no clarity on future auction rounds for large-scale solar under the Contracts for Difference system.

As a comparison, £7 million is less than what Buckinghamshire council spends on potholes in a single year.

This is out of a total low carbon energy budget called the ‘Levy Control Framework’ projected to be £7.6 billion by 2020. 

To further put the £7 million budget into context, that means that over the next three years 0.04% of the Levy Control Framework budget is being spent on new solar projects.

Paul Barwell, Chief Executive, Solar Trade Association, commented: Allocating £7million of support for solar power – the world’s fastest growing clean energy solution – does not constitute a serious energy policy.”

“Solar can transform choice and competition in electricity markets, so the government’s short-term thinking on bills risks condemning hardworking families to a future of higher energy costs.”

“This 98% cut in support is extreme and will decimate the nation’s most popular source of energy, and puts at risk over 20,000 solar jobs. The UK will be left behind if we turn our back on a global solar revolution.”

Joint Statement by renewable energy associations on closure of Feed-in Tariff preliminary accreditation                      

Meanwhile, a number of renewable energy associations have joined the STA in calling for the Department of Energy and Climate Change to review urgently its decision to remove preliminary accreditation from the Feed-in Tariff.

Their joint statement says:

“Developers are now no longer able to register for financial support under the FiT at a specific level before they start generating. This change has removed access to the FiT from individuals, farmers, businesses, investors and communities looking to generate their own power.

“As a result, hundreds of projects, millions of pounds of investment and many thousands of jobs have been put at risk. It also has the reverse impact of what the Government seems to intend, by pushing up costs.

“We believe the consultation process on the removal of pre-accreditation was deeply flawed. No impact assessment was provided by DECC and insufficient time was allowed for a proper consideration of the proposal. “The unexpected move was announced on 22 July and confirmed on 9 September.

“The Government has indicated that pre-accreditation could be reintroduced as part of future proposals. Since it is unclear how the scheme can operate without a pre-accreditation system, we would like to see a clear statement from Government about the use of new pre-accreditation controls as part of any revised scheme.”

Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association

Community Energy England

Regen SW

Renewable Energy Association

Renewable UK

Scottish Renewables

Solar Trade Association

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