Around 4,500 members of staff at Carillion have been warned that they are at risk of redundancy over the Christmas period. The energy giant has begun a statutory 90-day consultation period as a result of the Government’s proposed fifty percent slash to the solar subsidy.
Carillion is concerned that the proposed changes to the FiT could jeopardise existing projects with local authorities and social housing providers totalling 30,000 installs.
Carillion is also the sole provider for Homesun, whose Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Green, labelled the proposed cuts as “impossible” for the industry and more specifically for aggregator schemes such as Homesun’s. Mr Green also warned that he would be forced to make redundancies if the cuts move forward as proposed.
Carillion said in a statement: “We expect the government’s plans for much larger and earlier than expected cuts to feed-in tariffs to reduce the size of the solar PV market significantly.
“Our solar business was growing strongly [but] in order to react to the effects of this on our business, we have launched a statutory 90-day consultation process with our people on how we can reshape our business.”
Newcastle-based Carillion Energy Services reported revenues in excess of £726 million last year after it completed the takeover of heating and renewable energy provider Eaga, inheriting the company’s £300 million funded ‘Solar Project’.
Although it is not known exactly how many jobs will be lost as a result of the tariff review, it is believed to be somewhere in the region of 1,600.
MP for Newcastle Central, Chi Onwurah, said: “The employees of what was Eaga and what is now Carillion have been through a huge amount already and to be facing additional uncertainty as we go into the Christmas period is really heartbreaking.
“The real culprit here is the Government. Without any notice for companies like Carillion to treat their employees sensitively they have announced this cut.
“I have tabled a number of questions to ask what the Government will be offering firms like Carillion.”
Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, acknowledged that many companies will struggle to cope with the cuts, admitting that “the emergency review of the solar sector has been regrettable.”
Mr Barker stated that the speed and scale of the proposed cuts are necessary to place the feed-in tariff scheme on a sustainable footing. When Mr Barker was asked by the EAC committee if he had any regrets surrounding the FiT fiasco, Mr Barker responded: “My only regret is that we didn’t do this earlier.”
Recent analysis by strategic energy consultants Element Energy has revealed that the proposed cut to the feed-in tariff level for solar technology will put 29,000 solar professionals out of work and cause the treasury to lose up to £230 million a year in tax income.