Ashford Borough Council is set to cancel the rollout of solar panels on council-owned buildings in the wake of the proposal to reduce subsidies for solar PV technology.
Following member approval at last month’s Council meeting, work was expected to begin on the project this month. However, the proposed cut to the feed-in tariff (FiT) rates has made the scheme financially unviable.
Officers advised members of the Cabinet of the financial consequences to the solar panel project following the announcement of the government’s proposals. The leader, deputy leader and portfolio holder for environment then came to the decision that the financial risks were too great.
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, deputy leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “It is with great reluctance we have made the decision to pull the project. During these difficult economic times the council felt the potential risks to the taxpayer were too great and this was not a risk we were willing to take.
“Should circumstances change in the future we will take a view on whether to take the project forward, but only if it is in the long term interests of the borough and our residents.”
Cllr Jessamy Blanford, portfolio holder for the environment, said: “I’m personally very sad we cannot progress with the scheme. Despite this setback the council remains committed to lowering our carbon footprint and will continue to look at ways of achieving this.
“The council will be formally responding to the government’s consultation expressing disappointment with the proposals.”
The first phase of the initiative considered installing solar panels to council-owned buildings and then reviewing the project in April 2012, followed by a proposed weighing up of the benefits of rolling out the scheme to council housing and private properties. This review will still take place to investigate whether there is any chance of taking the project forward in the future.
Ashford Borough Council is the latest in a string of solar PV schemes that have been axed as a direct consequence of the proposed FiT cuts.