Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

Friends of the Earth: Imminent Solar Decision First Test Of Government Climate Commitment

Amber Rudd by DECC via flickr

The solar decision, expected this week, is a key test of government’s climate commitment, says Friends of the Earth. Providing adequate financial support to the UK’s rooftop solar industry will be the first test of the Government’s commitment to tackling climate change following the Paris climate summit, says Friends of the Earth.

A decision is expected later this week on Government plans for an 87 per cent cut in financial support (feed-in tariff) for household solar and an arbitrary cap on expenditure. It has been estimated that this would reduce solar installations by over 90% – preventing almost 1 million fewer systems from being installed.

The original proposals, which were put out to consultation in August, have been widely criticised by all parties, with former Conservative Climate Change Minister Lord Barker describing them as ‘catastrophic’, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson saying he was ‘very concerned’.

A number of solar firms have already folded, and over 20,000 jobs could be lost as a result of the changes, and millions more tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

Friends of the Earth says that at the very minimum ministers should offer a tariff of around 9p per unit for household solar – as well as lifting the arbitrary cap on overall expenditure and do far more to encourage community investment in solar.

Commenting ahead of the announcement, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Alasdair Cameron, said: “This week’s solar decision is the first test of the Government’s commitment to tackling climate change following the Paris climate summit.

“To have any chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, investment in green energy must be boosted, while subsidies for climate-wrecking fossil fuels must end.

“Supporting renewable energy makes economic sense too, as solar power is set to become a trillion dollar industry in the coming years.

“It’s time for the Government to get on the right side of history and build a clean, renewable energy system fit for the future.”

Analysis by Cambridge Econometrics has shown that to achieve even the government’s proposed rate of return on investment would require a Feed-in tariff of over 7p/kWh for household solar, far higher than the 1.67p proposed, while a reasonable return of 6% would require a FiT of around 9p/kWh.

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