Current affairs

Bill Wright, head of energy solutions at The Electrical Contractors’ Association, gives his take on proposed cuts to the Feed-in Tariff

The latest consultation from DECC has caused waves of concern throughout the renewables sector. Just when we thought that enough damage had been done to the industry, the government announced it would consult on plans to make significant reductions to the tariffs paid to PV users. 

I can understand the logic behind their other consultations on FiTs reduction, the limited use of ROCs, and even (at a push) their push for rooftop PV instead of acres of fields under solar panels, but I worry this will punish our industry unnecessarily It looks like we are back to the yo-yo approach to renewable energy policy where it is literally boom and bust, and which has serious long-term ramifications for the industry and the businesses within it. 

The government claims this latest consultation is merely a bringing forward of what would have happened in several years time, and has been caused by the popularity of PV and the dramatic reduction in installation costs. I don’t buy it – surely labour rates or time to install can’t have decreased that significantly in such a short space of time?  

What can we do? Lobby the government, MPs and anyone in DECC and point out the effect that this could have on our industry. A petition is also currently doing the rounds to get this issue debated in Parliament, which would enable the government to see the effect their haphazard approach to renewables policy could have on our industry.