STA herald FiT cut delay

The Solar Trade Association and other industry representatives have welcomed suggestions from senior ministers that the government may choose to delay the reductions to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) expected on 01 July.

The STA had previously written to energy minister Greg Barker appealing for a postponement to planned cuts to the current 21p/kWh domestic rate citing low PV installation figures throughout the month of April and declining consumer confidence.

A delay to the cuts seems to have moved a step closer to reality after climate change minister Greg Barker said on Twitter last night that the government was considering “pushing back a little the next proposed reduction”. Energy minister Ed Davey appeared to back this up view in the House of Commons earlier today by speaking about the potential to ‘tweak’ the timeline for the planned reductions to FiT.

Paul Barwell, chief executive of the STA, said: “There are two great reasons for homeowners to invest in PV today: The costs of solar power have fallen through the floor and our energy bills are going through the roof.

“It is very encouraging for the future that Government is listening to industry concerns, but we need certainty as soon as possible on the details of when and what the next tariff adjustments will be.”

Robert Goss, managing director of Conergy UK, added: “The postponement will give property owners and developers another chance to take advantage of continuing high tariffs, but as an industry, what we need is certainty. The uncertainty created by the government is the only reason for recent dampened demand, because good returns are still available.”

Damian Baker, ceo of RenEnergy, was less positive of the announcement, however, and said: “We are disappointed to find out that once again the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have failed to offer clarity and stability to an industry that is faltering due to the repeated mishandling of changes to the FiT.

“This has sparked a new barrage of criticism, from the already beleaguered solar industry, which is angry that Barker has insinuated that there are changes without offering concrete information. Obviously we would welcome a delay to the cuts however if this isn’t the case we would rather consumers purchased today in the certainty that the returns will be better than in July.

“Barker’s latest announcement puts us back to square one, with the Solar Industry once again at the mercy of DECC’s erratic decision making processes – in this climate  it is impossible to plan. We urge Barker to clarify his statement as soon as possible.”