‘Millions of pounds of London solar installs cancelled following FiT cuts’

  • Solar schools.

    Installations on schools are expected to have been particularly hard-hit by the reduced feed-in tariff, with a number of projects in the RE:NEW pipeline. Image: Southern Solar.

Millions of pounds worth of solar installations earmarked for the capital have been cancelled following the introduction of new feed-in tariff rates, London mayor Boris Johnson has revealed.

Johnson was quizzed on the impacts the new rates have had on London’s two retrofit programmes, RE:NEW and RE:FIT, which have included installing solar panels on homes and public buildings.

In October he warned government in his own consultation response that the two programmes could see their solar commitments significantly hampered by the new rates, specifically mentioning a £2 million project in the pipeline that was being reconsidered as a result.

This morning Johnson responded to a question from Labour London Assembly member Murad Qureshi, stating that while that project had not yet been abandoned it is now proceeding with non-solar measures first. Further feasibility studies will now be conducted over the next year to determine whether or not the solar PV portion can go ahead.

However Johnson also disclosed that an estimated £2.7 million worth of solar PV projects under the RE:NEW programme have been cancelled as a direct result of changes to the FiT. This could also grow further with a number of other projects “progressing at risk”.

Murad Qureshi told Solar Power Portal this afternoon: "These responses show just how damaging the FiT cuts have been to the mayor’s own programmes. London can ill-afford abandoned solar projects when the need to be more energy independent is greater than ever. It’s time the government had a rethink."

The news is likely to undermine the start of Greener London, a campaign running this week to highlight the importance of tackling the capital’s air pollution and clean energy issues ahead of May’s mayoral elections.

Both frontrunners for the post in Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan have outlined ambitious aims to boost solar uptake in London, with Transport for London in particular expected to do more under the next mayor. 

This article has been amended from its original version to include commentary from Murad Qureshi.

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