The Cut Don’t Kill campaign, a coalition of U.K. solar power companies including Solarcentury and NGOs including Friends of the Earth, has responded to new Government proposals for a 52% cut in the feed-in tariff by warning that such deep cuts would “kill the U.K. solar industry stone dead”, destroying 4,000 companies and 25,000 jobs. The feed-in tariff pays anyone who has installed a solar power system for generating electricity. The government’s consultation, published early November 2011 would see the basic rate of feed-in tariff fall from 43.3p per kilowatt hour to 21p per kilowatt hour.
Howard Johns of the Cut Don’t Kill campaign said, “Such deep cuts to the tariff would kill the U.K. solar industry stone dead. We are happy to accept some cuts, but the government must recognize that wiping out 4,000 companies and 25,000 jobs by cutting too deeply would be an appalling waste of economic potential. Our message to the government is cut us, but don’t kill us─we want a sustainable cut that would allow us to survive and deliver the green growth that David Cameron said he was committed to.” Johns added, “The government has a choice─either they can cut like this and make an entire industry go bust, or they can work with us to properly plan the phasing out of the tariff bit by bit, which will produce a flourishing industry that won’t need any subsidy or support.”
Jeremy Leggett, Chairman of Solarcentury, the company behind the Blackfriars solar bridge project, said, “In just 18 months, this government has conspired to destroy one of the very few growth industries in the economy. The announcement on November 4th, 2011, puts at risk up to 25,000 solar PV jobs and jeopardizes many hundreds of new solar businesses established since 2009. The whole industry has contracts, staff, purchase commitments, stock─all have now been massively compromised by this short-term knee jerk. There is not even any recognition that the industry will need some time to adjust to such a change.” “The industry’s ‘Cut Don’t Kill’ campaign, which is being backed by Solarcentury, will be fighting the announcement through the winter,” added Leggett.
Some of the Key Facts Pertaining to the U.K. Solar Energy Industry
-The U.K. solar energy industry employs 25,000 professionals compared with just 3,000 in 2010 (Solar Power Portal)
-The number of solar businesses have increased from 450 in 2010 to over 3,000 today (Micro Generation Certification)
-It is estimated that by 2020 the U.K. solar energy industry will have employed 360,000 people (Solar Revolution Strategy for the U.K.)
-Since the introduction of tariffs in 2010, a total of 87,769 solar installations have been completed in the U.K. (FiT register).
-The energy generation of solar power now exceeds the amount generated by a single nuclear power plant. The total solar energy generated by solar in the U.K. is 312 megawatts compared with the 225 megawatts maximum operating capacity of the Oldbury nuclear power plant (FiT register; Reuters).
-The current cost of the tariff per household is less than a pound annually (Kingspan).
-Cuts of up to 75% to the feed-in tariff (Financial Times) would deprive the U.K. of a booming green industry that is driving jobs growth and providing an environmentally sustainable and long-term alternative to other fossil-fuel dependent methods of electricity.
-It is estimated that within six to eight years, solar will not need to be subsidized providing current support of the industry is maintained (Solar Revolution Strategy for the U.K.).
-Solar puts the power to generate energy directly in the hands of millions of people, rather than a handful of energy companies.
Further Information: Solarcentury (http://www.solarcentury.co.uk/)
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