Solar Industry Launches Campaigns to Sway Government

Chris Huhne

The solar industry has launched two new campaigns - ‘We Support Solar’ and ‘Power to Society’ - in a bid to encourage the UK Government to reconsider its decision to review the support provided to medium and large solar installations through the Feed-In Tariff (FIT).

We Support Solar, backed by companies including Sharp and Solarcentury, called on the energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne to cancel the review of solar incentives, which has been fast-tracked as a matter of priority. The campaign also launched a petition with the same objective.

In an open letter to Mr Huhne, the campaigners wrote: “The shock decision to launch a ‘fast-track’ review for all PV down to the size of small community and business installations has caused chaos in key parts of the sector. Your announcement has halted investment in many projects over 50kW including ‘Big Society’ community schemes of the type we thought the Government was particularly keen to support.”

Meanwhile, the Power to Society campaign has launched a similar petition that calls for the dropping of the fast-track review and protection of solar schemes in the community. The petition is aimed at landowners and ordinary members of the public.

Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Low Carbon Solar, a supporter of the campaign, said: “In pulling back on a commitment to support solar energy, the Government will cause the abandonment of scores of ‘Big Society’ community-owned schemes and hundreds of other developments that could have seen individual parishes benefit from up to £25,000 every year and more local jobs created.

“The ill-conceived and dangerously short-sighted proposals will have further unintended consequences, including the Government missing a European target of generating 30 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020 and therefore incurring significant fines.”

On the domestic front, solar photovoltaic panels can be used to generate green electricity for use in the home. Any additional capacity can be exported to the National Grid under the FIT scheme. The Government is adamant that support for larger solar installations (over 50kW) must end in order to ensure that funding worth £360 million does not dry up for smaller FIT projects.

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