Hundreds of jobs at risk after bid to cut solar feed-in tariffs
PUBLISHED: 10:49 04 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:49 04 October 2015
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More than 450 jobs across the region are at risk due to a proposed cut in government support for solar energy, an industry organisation has claimed.
Up to 27,000 jobs across the UK could be lost as a result of plans by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to cut the feed-in tariff paid for electricity generated by solar rooftop panels by 87pc, according to the Solar Trade Association (STA).
Including jobs in the supply chain as well as those at firms dealing directly with customers, the STA says that as many as 1,870 of the current 2,340 solar jobs in the East of England could go, including 80 in south-west Norfolk, 96 in Norwich and 88 in Broadland. More than 300 jobs are at risk in Suffolk and north Essex.
The association also claims households in many parts of the country would be discriminated against under the proposals which, it says, are based on sunlight levels likely to be found on the south coast of England rather than further north.
Paul Barwell, chief executive at the STA, said: “The government has used sunlight levels you might find in Devon, rather than those found in Yorkshire as they have done in the past. Here at the Solar Trade Association, however, we believe more than just one corner of the country should be able to get the benefits of going solar.”
Responding to criticism over the price cut last month, energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd said take-up of the scheme had been so great that the original target of supporting 750,000 installations by 2020 was likely to be reached by the end of this year.
The development of technologies supported under the programme had also resulted in a dramatic reduction in the cost of solar energy, she added.
An alliance of organisations including the National Farmers’ Union, the Confederation of British Industry, social housing providers and local authorities have urged the government to “urgently reconsider” its proposed cuts.
Will your business be affected by the proposed cuts? Call business writer Sabah Meddings on 01603 772879 or email firstname.lastname@example.org