Solar industry faces "disaster" if feed-in tariffs are cut

Published:  06 May, 2011

Consultation on the government's proposed cuts to feed-in tariff incentives for 50kW solar projects draws to a close today, with industry figures warning the sector faces "disaster" if the coalition adopts its current proposals.

The consultation documents, which were launched in March, propose deep cuts to feed-in tariff incentives of between 40% and 70% for all solar photovoltaic (PV) installations with over 50kW capacity.

Some solar firms focused on small-scale domestic panels have supported the government's argument that cuts to the feed-in tariffs available to larger installations are necessary to protect the level of incentives available to households.

But many developers and industry trade groups have submitted responses to the consultation warning that the scale of the cuts will result in a halt to all solar installations with over 50kW capacity.

They have also warned that the way in which the cuts have been proposed ahead of the original schedule for reviewing feed-in tariffs has severely undermined investor confidence in the renewables sector.

Howard Johns, chairman of the Solar Trade Association, said the industry continued to hope that ministers would "see some sense" and drop proposals for deep cuts to incentives that would represent a "disaster for solar in the UK".

His comments were echoed by Leonnie Greene of the Renewable Energy Association, who said the trade body would continue to "lobby hard" for less extensive cuts to incentives.

"Our view is that the overall ambition is much too low and the government clearly does not understand the strategic importance of solar," she said.