FiT cuts would ‘cripple’ 70% of solar industry, survey finds

A new survey launched on the back of the Government's controversial feed-in tariff (FiT) consultation has found that 70% of solar installers are concerned that the anticipated cuts to subsidies could 'cripple' their financial stability.

The survey, conducted by the NAPIT Trade Association, which represents tradespeople and installers within the building services sector, also found that almost three quarters of registered PV installers and electrical contractors (70%) would leave the solar PV sector if the FiT cuts go ahead, while 80% of respondents believe that the subsidy changes would reduce annual installation capacity by up to 80%.

NAPIT Trade Association chairman Frank Bertie said: “The feedback we received suggests the Government could be on the cusp of destroying a huge chunk of the solar PV supply chain, and with it, the livelihoods of thousands of hard-working people who not only install but also repair and maintain this valuable source of energy.

“NAPIT have responded to the Government’s consultation in no uncertain terms, along with many other organisations and installers who want to see this industry achieve its potential. We hope that, for a country at very real risk of an energy crisis, the Government sees sense and works to secure rather than destroy the bright future Britain deserves.” 

The controversial plans to cut FiT preliminary accreditation were, according to the Government, aimed at providing a better control over spending and ensure bill payers get the best possible deal as we continue to move to a low-carbon economy.

But NAPIT is calling for a major rethink of the changes, which would see subsidy levels for solar PV reduced by up to 87%. The organisation is accusing the Government of “throwing a stick into the spokes of an industry on the brink of becoming subsidy-free”.

Business backlash

NAPIT’s calls for a rethink have been mirrored throughout the private sector. Ikea, Panasonic and DuPont are among a wave of businesses that have thrown their weight behind campaigns to halt the “extreme” and “damaging” proposals.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has also warned that the FiT review would kill deployment of many smaller industries such as community renewables and anaerobic digestion (AD). London Mayor Boris Johnson then added his voice, recommending a ‘gentler’ approach from Government.

Earlier this month, the Solar Trade Association (STA) released a scheme to ‘save the solar industry’, which would result in just £1 being added to annual utility bills. The plan has since received backing from over 30 MPs across a variety of parties.

The Government is expected to announce their plans for the Feed-in Tariff by the end of the year, with changes taking place as early as January 2016.

Matt Mace

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