Solar bodies take protest to Downing Street

Leading members of the solar industry, green lobbyists and cross-party MPs are taking a letter to Downing Street today urging the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to rethink government’s […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Leading members of the solar industry, green lobbyists and cross-party MPs are taking a letter to Downing Street today urging the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to rethink government’s solar policy.

The letter has been signed by over 200 prominent individuals and firms including environment campaigner Jonathon Porritt, the Deputy General Secretary of the TUC Frances O’Grady as well as Tom Paul, director of construction giant Kingspan.

Friends of the Earth will also be handing in a petition alongside Renewable Energy Association, Solar Trade Association and Solarcentury signed by over 17,000 people urging the Government to protect solar and the UK FIT scheme.

The visit comes as a controversial deadline to apply for a more generous solar subsidy, or Feed-in Tariff (FiT), passed yesterday. Anyone who now applies for the solar FiT will not be guaranteed the higher tariff level.

The deadline was contentious because it was brought forward from April with only a month’s notice. Many in the young industry claim this could cause widespread job losses and bankruptcy.

Howard Johns, chair of STA and spokesman for the Cut Don’t Kill Campaign said: “This is not just about a vital high-tech industry fighting for its survival. Our message to Clegg and Cameron is that the solar industry makes economic, social and environmental sense. Destroying it makes no sense at all.”

DECC has proposed the amount of FiTs cash on offer for small-scale solar projects up to 4kW in size should be set at 21p/kWh, down from 43.3p/kWh.

The changes shouldn’t affect customers who already receive a FiT for their projects. DECC’s proposed new subsidy levels are:

Size of project New FiTs level

Up to 4kW 21.0p/kWh

Between 4-10kW 16.8p/kWh

Between  10-50kW 15.2p/kWh

And between 50-250kW 12.9p/kWh