Tariff hits solar firms says green energy boss

A GREEN energy boss says further Government cuts to payments for homeowners installing solar panels could damage the industry.

A GREEN energy boss says further Government cuts to payments for homeowners installing solar panels could damage the industry.

Reductions to the feed-in tariff - a payment for individuals or companies generating their own electricity from photovoltaic (PV) panels - will be brought in on August 1.

Originally generous payments encouraged a gold rush of firms installing panels, which prompted the Government to halve the feed-in tariff to the current 21p/kWh, hitting order books.

Now rates will be reduced further, and will change every three months based on how many PV panels have been installed nationally - the more panels installed, the lower the rate received by consumers will be.

Wayne Richardson, managing director of Aycliffe company Revolution Power, said the Government’s “moving targets” made it difficult to develop business.

He said firms had been reluctant to talk about redundancies, so the true scale of the job losses caused by the feed-in tariff changes was not known.

“The scheme attracted the wrong type of people, the Government should have stopped the free solar brigade - people installing panels for free - because it wasn’t in the spirit of the scheme. We lost four people.

“By cutting the FITs, they’ve actually slashed the number of installations.”

He said the Government’s review of tariffs on a three-monthly basis would continue to make things difficult. “You can’t develop a business based on that.”

He added: “It was going well, and they’ve decimated the industry. There has been more job losses over this than were created when the feed-in tariffs were introduced in the first place.”

The Government is also set to reduce the tariff lifetime for new PV installations from 25 years to 20.

The export tariff - payments for supplying energy back to the grid - will rise from 3.2p/kWh to 4.5p/kWh.

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