DECC to review planned FiT cuts

The UK’s solar industry has applauded the decision by Energy Ministers to review the next round of cuts to the Feed-in Tariff.

The Solar Trade Association said they were ‘delighted’ by the news, which it said showed the government and industry were again united in delivering a green energy future.

Energy minister Greg Barker said his department had listened to the concerns of manufacturers and installers and had agreed to look at pushing back the next scheduled reduction in the solar PV FiT rate of July 1.

“This is very pleasing news and very reassuring that the government and the industry are at last working together again,” a spokeswoman for the STA said. “We are very pleased that DECC has listened to our concerns and responded in this way, it is very encouraging for the future.

“This is a difficult time for a number of reasons and today’s decision will allow the industry the room to recover and strengthen.

“We have been working hard to create some space for the industry and we should now have some confidence that we can move forward together.”

A DECC spokesperson confirmed this morning: “Having listened carefully to the industry we are reviewing the date for the next reduction in solar tariffs and will be making a fuller announcement shortly.”

David Hunt, director of Eco Environments, cautiously welcomed the news and said: “We are pleased to hear that DECC are listening to the industry and looking at the flatlined solar PV installation figures, let’s see if the FiT deadline is put back as industry has requested, if that happens then we have to give credit to DECC for taking a tough but very necessary decision.”

And Howard Johns of the Cut Don’t Kill Campaign added another note of caution.

“This freeze needs to be genuine and not cosmetic,” he said. “Any further cuts to solar tariffs should not take place until at least October. After the policy shambles of the past six months, the solar industry needs adequate time to get back on its feet.

“In reality, Greg Barker had little choice but to announce a delay to the cuts hurriedly on Twitter last night – the legal deadline to implement them on 1 July expired on Monday.

“But it doesn’t matter how we’ve got here – what’s important now is that the government does what’s right for the long term future of solar energy.

“For months the Cut Don’t Kill campaign has been warning that the government is cutting too far and too fast in the solar sector. Panel installations are 50% down on a year ago and over 6,000 jobs have been lost in the industry since last summer. We take no pleasure in being proven right but hope the government will now take the opportunity to implement solar policy that is sensible and sustainable.”