20,000 signatures reached
To: Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change The Rt Honorable Amber Rudd and the Department of Energy and Climate Change
Stop the UK government killing off the UK solar industry
Don't kill off the UK solar industry.
Please reverse any plans to cut subsidies to solar power in the UK, this will harm UK jobs and be devastating for our environment.
Why is this important?
The Dept for Energy and Climate Change has just unveiled sweeping plans to slash subsidies to solar power. They are proposing measures that include cutting aid to small-scale solar power installations, and ending subsidies for roof-top panels earlier than expected.
Solar and wind energy installations of less than 5MW are supported by feed-in tariffs - schemes that pay producers a subsidy for the electricity they generate, plus a bonus for any electricity exported back to the national grid. Under the new proposals, the amount to be paid from next year will fall to 1.63p per kilowatt hour from a current level of 12.92p for a new residential solar system.
This is a hugely short sighted move by the government and is devastating for Britain's solar sector which employs over 35,000 people. The Secretary of State herself has stated that the total cost this year of the solar RO was just £3 per household on energy bills. Ending support for solar power makes no sense at all. The energy market currently has a wide range of subsidies and tax allowances in place, across all the technologies – renewables, nuclear and gas - and not all of these are transparent when it comes to the consumer.
They have made these announcements after the House of Commons has risen for the summer recess so proper scrutiny in Parliament will now not be possible until after the consultation deadline.
The Welsh government is already concerned, a spokesperson said the plans have the "potential to put jobs and investment under threat by reducing subsidies to projects already in the pipeline".
The government is deliberately over-exaggerating the impact of renewable energy on bills and the timing of this move on solar power could not be worse as it is nearly subsidy free.
Greenpeace pointed out that the government's maximum additional spend on green technologies by 2018 would be approximately half of what it spends subsidising the coal industry.
Other groups called the changes "absurd".
"Of course the feed-in tariff should fall as solar becomes cheaper, but the government clearly plans to remove support entirely," said Alasdair Cameron from Friends of the Earth.
"This is politically motivated, and will take away power from people and hand it back to big energy firms."
“Cutting the subsidies now will see businesses go bust and investment dry up. Jobs will go and emissions will stay higher at a time when policies and funding should be in place to ensure quite the opposite,” said Daisy Sands, head of the energy campaign at Greenpeace.
Ray Noble, owner, Solar BIPV Ltd and Solar Power Portal outstanding achievement award winner has commented:
"The decision to stop supporting the fastest deploying energy generation technology seems like madness to me. Especially when you consider that we are short of electricity, that solar has the biggest support of the the population; yet at the same time still giving 2 ROCs to other technologies that are creating the largest drain on the budget. Seems like winners are not liked and losers are preferred!
“Combined with the cuts to wind subsidies, it looks like the government is gearing up for a full frontal attack on the renewable energy sector in the autumn while still handing out billion-pound tax breaks for oil and gas industry … It’s no good David Cameron saying how important the climate talks in Paris are, if the chancellor simultaneously weakens any shred of credibility of a claim to the UK’s low carbon leadership.”
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