Solar panels

Solar feed-in tariff cuts may be delayed

Energy Secretary Edward Davey has said the government is considering "tweaking" the start date for the next cut in solar tariffs.

His comments came as shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint claimed any government backtracking was due to incompetence over its policies on feed-in tariff (FIT) subsidies.

The government earlier this year defended plans to further cut the subsidy available to households who install solar panels, confirming they would press ahead with a controversial move to halve the payments for panels installed from March and planned further cuts from July.

Ministers have warned the falling costs of solar technology made the subsidies too generous and feed-in tariffs (FITs) risked spiralling over budget.

Ms Flint referred to a tweet reportedly sent this week by energy and climate change minister Gregory Barker in which he appeared to suggest a "pushing back" in the next proposed reduction in solar tariffs.

"My question today is about the Government's next round of cuts to solar which is due on July 1," Ms Flint said during energy and climate change questions in the Commons.

"Last night, the minister, the honourable member for Bexhill and Battle tweeted, having listened carefully to industry we're looking at scope for pushing back a little the next proposed reduction in the solar tariffs.

"The truth is that the Government has missed the deadline legally required to provide notice to Parliament for the next round of cuts to come into force.

"Isn't it the Government's incompetence the real reason that they are now backtracking?"

Mr Davey replied: "She seems to think we shouldn't listen to the industry.

"Well I do listen to the industry and we are considering tweaking the start date for the next tariff reduction, but if we do it will be a tweak not a massive change, so I think she needs to understand that the changes that we have consulted on, that we are bringing in, will bring stability and will mean that we do have solar power for the many, not the few."

Ms Flint hit back stating: "Well I think they'll be laughs echoing outside this Chamber about the fact the Secretary of State suggested they've been listening to the industry."

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