Future of solar looking cloudy as jobs fall by a third

A third of solar jobs have been lost in the past year and 30% of businesses expect to cut staff in the next 12 months. A survey published today by […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A third of solar jobs have been lost in the past year and 30% of businesses expect to cut staff in the next 12 months.

A survey published today by the Solar Trade Association (STA) and PwC revealed 238 solar firms collectively employ 3,665 people now compared to 5,362 a year ago, a fall of 32%.

The total job losses in UK solar over the past year could exceed 12,500 – around one third of previous total employment in the solar industry.

It also showed 40% of firms are being forced to exit the solar market or diversify into other areas to survive.

Solar deployment this year is expected to fall from an average of 1GW in the past 5 years, to less than 300MW this year, a 75% drop.

The news follows the government’s announcement to cut solar subsidies last year, prompting frustration from the sector.

Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association said: “We urge new Ministers, rather than increase the tax burden of going solar, please reward investment with sensible solar tax breaks consistent with action on climate change. International experience of tax breaks is solid and the industry is clearly behind this.”

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said solar PV is a UK success story as a result of government support.

A spokesperson added: “The costs of solar energy have come down dramatically and the purpose of subsidies is to support new technologies, not become an indefinite source of income. We expect solar deployment will increase further as costs continue to fall.”