Government hint at cuts for solar subsidy

The solar industry is bracing itself for savage cuts to the support it receives by way of the Feed-in Tariff as Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said that the UK […]

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By Tom Gibson

The solar industry is bracing itself for savage cuts to the support it receives by way of the Feed-in Tariff as Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said that the UK would not suffer from the “boom and bust” seen across Europe.

Currently the solar industry has been propped up by the government with financial support, which has seen 100,000 microgeneration projects set up over the last few years.

Speaking at Solar Power UK yesterday Greg Barker said the UK wouldn’t follow in the footsteps of some of our European neighbours: “We have seen boom and bust in solar right across Europe. We have to make sure that UK solar has a steadier, clearer, sustainable growth path, that justifies the subsidy from all consumers, demonstrates clear value for money versus other low carbon forms of generation and can show a clear path to grid parity.

“But there is a delicate balancing act to perform to avoid boom and bust, as shown by the bubbles in countries like Italy, Spain and France, fuelled by over generous feed in tariffs.”

Solar PV costs dropped significantly since tariff levels were set. According to Bloomberg they have gone down by as much as 70% in two years.

The Minister added things would change shortly for the solar industry: “You don’t have to be a Nobel prize winning economist to realise that solar is burning through the budget at an unsustainable rate. So we will be launching a consultation very shortly that focuses on addressing the budgetary problem. Yes, the decisions we need to take are tough.”