Former secretary of climate change, Conservative MP and newly appointed president of the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA), Greg Barker has warned the solar industry against excessive “doom mongering” in the wake of fresh subsidy cuts.

The government revealed plans to remove all renewable obligation support for ground-mount solar schemes by April 2016 as well as proposals to stop the pre-accreditation of PV projects under the feed-in tariff on Wednesday. The wider solar sector condemned the move as “short sighted” and “damaging”.

In a statement on the BPVA website Barker, a strong advocate of solar while in office, noted that the announcements made by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) represented “a big challenge to the UK solar industry and in the short term very problematic for a number of companies”.

However, Barker continued: “I really hope that the sector can avoid the hysteria and self-damaging doom mongering that we saw in 2011. We need to focus on the fact that this review is a response to much faster and more successful clean energy deployment than anyone expected; exceptional growth that has made the UK the fastest growing solar market in Europe.”

Barker was referring to the ‘Cut Don’t Kill’ campaign which unsuccessfully attempted to lobby the government to reduce the severity of feed-in tariff cuts handed down under Barker’s stewardship of DECC.

The former Conservative MP proceeded to defend his former colleague, current secretary of state for energy and climate change, Amber Rudd. He said: “Amber Rudd has proved herself to be a real believer in solar and a genuine friend to the industry but that doesn’t mean we can duck the simple truth that the budget for renewables, thanks to massively successful deployment, has now all but gone, way ahead of time. So now, the industry needs to work closely with DECC in a genuine spirit of cooperation and financial realism to target and stretch the remaining budget in the current Levy Control Framework, in the most cost effective way possible.”

Barker concluded: “It is time to muster up an optimistic ‘can do’ ethic and talk up the huge success and enormous potential of UK solar not plead for years more subsidy.

“The government needs to listen very carefully to the most progressive voices in the sector and to focus the remaining budget in the right place but also work with the industry to help solar entrepreneurs create value with new and enhanced business models and by unblocking other barriers to growth. I am confident that working sensibly together, Amber can steer the sector through to the bright future it deserves.”

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Reza Shaybani chairman of the BPVA echoed Barker’s sentiments. He said: “I think what is extremely important now is that, unlike the 2011 cut, the industry must not talk itself down as this will be more damaging than the cuts. We must put emotions to one side and look at this in the context of LCF budget.”

Shaybani concluded: “We are concerned about today’s announcement and we will continue to work closely with our members on the response to the announced consultations, to ensure that the correct framework is put in place to guarantee a sustainable solar industry.”

This article was amended from its original version on Thursday 23 July.