David Prosser: Last chance to save the solar industry

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The Independent Online

Outlook On the final day of the Government's consultation over reform of the feed-in tariffs paid to solar power installations that feed energy back into the grid, it is fair to say the renewable energy industry is not holding out much hope of a reprieve from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

They fear Chris Huhne, the man in charge at Decc, has no choice but to insist on the big cuts to the tariffs he proposes for all but the smallest solar installations, having cut a deal months ago with the Treasury to reduce his budget.

In which case, it is time to say goodbye to Britain's budding solar power industry. The large-scale projects that were previously viable no longer will be.

What a pity. The cost of solar installations in Britain was beginning to come down, with more companies attracted to an industry that was starting to grow healthily thanks to the feed-in tariff system. Those gains will now be reversed as the industry heads to more supportive territories.

Meanwhile, will the savings that Decc is producing for the Treasury be swallowed up by the loss of tax revenues from an industry shutting up shop? There is every chance of that.