The commons debate regarding the Government's proposed cut to the feed-in tariff for solar power has resulted in a defeat for the opposition by 292 to 220, a majority of 72.

The defeat means that the previous proposed cut-off date of December 12 will go-ahead as detailed, with the consultation period to end on December 31.

The defeat will come as a disappointment to many in the solar industry who were hopeful of halting the proposed changes to the feed-in tariff. However, today’s opposition day debate has shed some much needed light on politicians’ opinions on the solar industry in the UK.

It appears that solar PV technology and its implementation in the UK broadly has cross-party support, with the overwhelming majority of speakers recognising the importance of a solar industry and its potential contribution to Britain’s energy mix.

The speakers were also universal in their acknowledgment that the current FiT rate was too high, bringing them inline with the vast majority of the solar industry, which has recognised the current rate needed to be revised downwards to reflect falling costs.

Unfortunately a large number of salient points were completely neglected in favour of party politics, as speakers looked to gain a series of political one-upmanships over the opposition. 

Defendants of the proposed cut to the FiT rate argued that the coalition Government inherited a broken system from Labour and the proposed cuts are a result of Labour’s lack of foresight, demonstrated by the omission of an installed capacity cap.

The opposition argued that the implicit costs to the consumer are negligible when compared to the loss of thousands of jobs and millions of finance in income tax. The scale and depth of cuts to the subsidy have meant that the Government has reneged on its promise to be the greenest government ever.

Whilst the result of the debate will be disappointing for the majority of the solar industry, the wider support of the technology, voiced by all parties, will help reassure those concerned about the long-term future of the solar industry in the UK.

A more detailed evaluation of the commons debate will be presented over the coming days.