The government's decision to reduce solar subsidies has already led to the loss of approximately 1,000 jobs

Solar industry says �1 subsidy will save thousands of jobs

Support for solar power would add just £1 to bills by 2019 and could save thousands of at-risk jobs according to the Solar Trade Association (STA).

Last month, green campaigners said more than 20,000 green energy jobs could be lost following government plans to slash subsidies for solar panels. 

The government argues that without its cost-cutting measures, the cost of renewables could spiral out of control. The changes are estimated to already have had an effect, with 1,000 jobs lost so far.

The STA ‘emergency’ rescue plan proposes to add £1 to consumer bills by 2019 on top of the £9 a year that subsidies for the clean technology currently cost bill-payers.

It would include higher initial tariffs for subsidies to make investing in the technology viable, with reductions set out to allow Government to control costs and give the industry certainty.

STA chief executive Paul Barwell said: "Solar is the future and this is recognised the world over.

"We think the British public will find it very hard to understand why Government would decimate the nation's favourite energy source for the sake of just a quid on bills.

"But we do need Government to act quickly now," he said, and called on MPs of all parties to get behind the plan and restore cross-party support for solar.

A recent report by renewables company Good Energy, said that while supporting the development of clean power adds cost to consumer bills, the electricity generated by them is cheaper than nuclear or fossil fuels as their energy sources - the wind or the sun - are free.

This results in bringing down the wholesale cost of electricity, reducing the impact of clean power subsidies on consumer bills.

The study calculates that wind and solar generators brought down the wholesale cost of electricity by £1.55bn in 2014.

By 2020-21, the Government warns, the levy control framework budget will have been breached by around £1.5bn a year, but the research suggests it will not have been exceeded if the benefits of solar and wind in lowering prices are taken into account.

Dr Lisa Clark from the University of Sheffield, which backed the study, said: "The subsidy costs and curtailment costs - where generators are paid to stop generating - of wind seem high, but when put in the context with the price savings on the wholesale market, the cost is reflected quite happily by the savings."

The chief scientist of the UN Environment Programme, Professor Jacqueline McGlade, has accused the government of sending out the wrong message about renewables.

She told the BBC: "What I'm seeing worldwide is a move very much towards investment in renewable energy. To counterbalance that you see the withdrawal of subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels.

"What's disappointing is when we see countries such as the United Kingdom that have really been in the lead in terms of getting their renewable energy up and going - we see subsidies being withdrawn and the fossil fuel industry being enhanced."

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: "Our priority is to keep bills as low as possible for hard-working families and businesses, while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.

"Government support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly and we will continue to press energy suppliers to deliver on the energy price cuts we have asked for."

Energy secretary Amber Rudd recently called on the Big Six energy firms to cut bills for consumers due to low wholesale prices which were not being passed onto the consumer. 

Recent articles

Info Message

Our sites use cookies to support some functionality, and to collect anonymous user data.

Learn more about IET cookies and how to control them