Solar industry uproar over plans to slash subsidies
Saturday 19 March 2011
Britain's solar industry was in uproar yesterday, branding the Government's proposed changes to the feed-in tariff (FIT) subsidy scheme as "nonsensical", "disgraceful" and "a horrendous strategic mistake".
The furore over the future of the nascent solar photovoltaic sector – which one industry group described as "strangled at birth" by the changes – comes against the backdrop of growing concerns about plans for new nuclear power stations given the crisis in Japan.
Under the new proposals, the solar power subsidies will come down by around half for medium-sized schemes, and by two-thirds for the biggest installations. The changes are now open for consultation, with a view to taking effect in August.
The Government says the move is necessary to avoid extra-large commercial solar "farms" hogging all the available funding and squeezing out the domestic projects for which the scheme was intended. It also says that solar costs have dropped 30 per cent since the FIT was introduced last April.
But solar power companies said that any scheme larger than a few households is now completely unviable. "This is far worse than anticipated," Ray Noble, the solar specialist at the Renewable Energy Association, said. "This industry has been strangled at birth."
Critics claim the changes betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the industry, which needs large-scale schemes to bring down the cost of smaller projects. And the cost model used by the Government is based on fossil fuel price projections that are wildly out of kilter with reality, they claim.
West Oxford Community Renewables, a social enterprise which has set up solar panels on a local school and supermarket, says plans for another school scheme nearby will now not go ahead."The Government came in saying they are all about the Big Society, but this is big government writ large," Barbara Hammond, the chair of West Oxford Community Renewables, said.
Simon Calder looks at communities fighting back against the poachers
Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Substitute equalises with six minutes to go
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
Guide dog mauled while helping owner deliver Christmas cards
The poorest pay the price for austerity: Workers face biggest fall in living standards since Victorian era
Nelson Mandela’s complex bond with Britain
Deadly ice storm sees US temperatures drop to -29C
10 stone five-year-old taken into care
- 1 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 2 Turning up the voice of America
- 3 The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C++ Server Dev...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: Leading Electronic Trading Software Ven...
£80000 - £100000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manag...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...