The Solar Trade Association has voiced its reaction towards the Government’s recent announcement, stating that an earlier than expected feed-in tariff review will “kill the renewable industry”.

Outlining how Energy Minister Chris Huhne’s decision brings into question the Government’s true commitment to renewable energy, the Association comments that the news adds further uncertainty in the industry “preventing businesses in the sector from growing, recruiting and meeting their business plans.” This, according to the Association’s statement, “compounds the uncertainty caused by the Government’s inability to finalise and implement the overdue Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).”

By introducing the feed-in tariff the Government promoted the beginning of a hugely successful renewable energy industry in the UK. The scheme has thus far been a great triumph for businesses, homeowners and social tenants in the country, with more than 14,000 homes installing solar technology since the FiT was launched in April last year.

Months later however, the nature of the feed-in tariff was altered without consultation during the Spending Review when Government introduced a ‘cap’ to the amount of money that could be spent on solar subsidies. This signaled the first point in which the industry could see cause for concern.

Government has now launched an early review of the feed-in tariff as a whole, claiming that large-scale solar plants will take the feed-in tariff away from smaller, residential installations. “To date not one of these systems has been installed in the UK, and deployment is likely to be hampered by grid connection and planning issues anyway,” explained the Association.

“In the announcement all systems above 50kW were classed as ‘large scale’ in a move that shifts the landscape for all involved in the sector and will jeopardise many community and small business owned installations. To alter the definition of large-scale systems severely questions the Government’s commitment to renewable energy in the UK, and is quite frankly absurd.”

Chairman of the Solar Trade Association, Howard Johns concluded, “This is really bad news for the solar industry in the UK. Last week Ministers welcomed the study showing that 17,000 jobs would be created by the industry in 2011. This week has seen them once again changing the goal posts and threatening investment and jobs in the sector.”