Power to the people: Big businesses back calls for feed-in-tariff rethink

Ikea, Panasonic and DuPont are among a wave of businesses have thrown their weight behind calls for the UK Government to reconsider the "extreme" and "damaging" proposals to cut the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme.

It is the second time in two days that a joint statement has been sent to the Government requesting that the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) reconsider the recently announced plans to cut the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme by up to 87%.

This time, a broad range of organisations – which also includes Business in the Community, Triodos Bank and Ecotricity – have urged the government to “support a thriving local renewables industry in the UK” by meeting with them to discuss the FiT cuts.

‘Power to the people’

Head of external affairs for the Solar Trade Association (another signatory), Leonie Greene said: “The Government’s proposals for British solar are extreme and they are damaging for both the industry and for consumers. Solar puts people and communities in control and the Government should back that – not take power from the people. It doesn’t have to be like this, so we are reassured that so many organisations, from all walks of life, are joining our call for a rethink.

“It is quite wrong to suggest we cannot afford to go solar. The truth is we cannot afford not to. It’s hard to think of a greater waste of public money than building up a strong British solar industry, hailed by the Prime Minister as a success, and then pushing it over a cliff before it is ready to fly.”

The letter highlight’s DECCs own ‘Impact Analysis’ research as evidence that the cuts will lead to more than 20,000 people losing their jobs. Solar Trade Association modelling also reveals that currently the FiT scheme will only add £1.70 to household bills in 2020 to deliver well over a million more solar homes.

The letter states that 78% of the British public want Government to enable investment in local renewables yet current proposals could ‘reduce the UK solar industry to a shadow of its former self.’ Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has also faced widespread criticism from MPs from all parties.

FITs Joint Statement

Electrical contractors

The letter is the second one this week that the Solar Trade Association has signed. Yesterday the Association, along with six others, sent a letter to government in relation to the subsidy cuts, which will results in a loss of up £94m in lost tax revenue and additional welfare payments while also cutting 15,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, edie has today (17 September) exclusively seen a letter from the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) which is being sent to ECC and Environmental Audit Committee members. 

The letter, signed by the ECA’s director of business and external affairs Paul Reeve, states: “There was no mention in the Conservative Manifesto about rapidly seeking to undercut Feed-In Tariff support for solar energy. Indeed, recent high-level policy statements strongly suggested that solar was a favoured strategic route to renewable and low carbon energy in the UK.

“The proposals are set to damage thousands of mainly UK-based SMEs who design and install solar domestic systems, and any cost-benefit analysis should take into account the loss of employment and capacity that is likely to ensue.

“A far slower regression in the Feed-In-Tariff will allow the industry to adjust over the next five years, without significant job losses or without derailing the domestic solar PV sector.”

Yesterday, London Mayor Boris Johnson weighed in on the debate, admitting he is “very concerned” by the Feed-in-Tariff cuts during yesterday’s Mayor’s Question Time.

Luke Nicholls & Matt Mace

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