Industry blasts ‘damaging’ subsidy cuts

Industry leaders have expressed dismay and disappointment at the government’s planned withdrawal of Renewables Obligation support for solar farms under 5MW.

The move, which is currently the subject of a consultation, has been labelled as a blow to investor confidence and a backward step in reducing carbon emissions, coming so soon after the closure of RO support for solar farms above 5MW in size and onshore wind.

“This contrasts with repeated commitments from government to boost the commercial solar rooftop market,” said The Solar Trade Association’s head of external affairs, Leonie Greene.

“There is no pledge in the Conservative manifesto about cutting support for solar, so we are disappointed by this move. Solar in the nation’s most popular form of energy, as the government’s own opinion polls have shown.”

Paul McCullagh, CEO of UrbanWind, said: “This continued withdrawal of support for renewable technologies is a complete backwards step in our transition towards a low carbon economy.

“Amber Rudd has previously stated her commitment to securing a binding decarbonisation agreement at the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris later this year. However, she has since then continued to withdraw support for onshore wind and solar, undermining an industry that is both one of our cleanest and readily-deployable options and one that enjoys widespread public support. I would like to see her show her colours by truly demonstrating her green credentials.”

Juliet Davenport, Good Energy chief executive, said: “Ending support for solar power makes no sense at all. Solar power met 15 percent of UK’s energy demand on the afternoon of Friday 03 July. With continued support from the government over the next five years, solar would soon be one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation.”

BSRIA‘s chief executive, Julia Evans, said: “The subsidy cut will have a very large negative impact on the industry. Under the Renewables Obligation, it’s costing about three pounds per annum on people’s energy bills – a small amount when you compare it with other types of energy, like nuclear for example.

“The announcement is especially disappointing given that subsidies were one of the cheapest ways that the government could meet its statutory climate change targets.”