Pressure is mounting for the government to rethink plans to savagely cut support for rooftop solar energy systems. A coalition of energy firms, investors and trade bodies representing the energy sector, including Energy UK, Panasonic, IKEA, the National Farmers Union and the TUC have published a statement calling on the government to urgently reconsider the proposed changes.
The move comes a day after EY reported that the UK had crashed out of the top ten of its renewable energy country attractiveness index for the first time. The coalition statement comes on the day that the CEO of Shell told Radio 4 today that solar would dominate energy generation in the future and the day after London Mayor Boris Johnson said he was ‘very concerned’ by the proposals for solar under the current Feed-In Tariff consultation.
Earlier, Hilary Benn, the Shadow Foreign Minister called for the government to change course saying: “the very significant cuts being proposed by the current Government are likely to cost jobs and investment in the green economy”, while Boris Johnson declared that he is “very concerned” by the changes.
Friends of the Earth renewable energy campaigner Alasdair Cameron said: “The government’s attacks on solar power could cost more than 20,000 jobs and billions in investment, and risk the UK falling far behind other nations in developing crucial technologies.
“For the first time in centuries the UK is no longer at the forefront of developing new energy technology and infrastructure, and government policy is responsible.
“The Treasury must urgently listen to those investors, entrepreneurs and MPs who recognise the strategic importance of renewable technologies like solar power, and it must work to support the industry, rather than destroy it.”
Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association said: “The Government’s proposals for British solar are extreme and they are damaging for both the industry and for consumers. Solar puts people and communities in control and the Government should back that – not take power from the people. It doesn’t have to be like this, so we are reassured that so many organisations, from all walks of life, are joining our call for a rethink.
“It is quite wrong to suggest we cannot afford to go solar. The truth is we cannot afford not to. It’s hard to think of a greater waste of public money than building up a strong British solar industry, hailed by the Prime Minister as a success, and then pushing it over a cliff before it is ready to fly.”