A survey of over 200 solar companies has found that hundreds of workers have already been made redundant as a result of government plans to cut the feed-in tariff (FiT), with many more on notice for next year if the cuts go through.

The research, conducted by the Solar Trade Association (STA) and RenewableUK, found that 576 redundancies had already been made out of 204 solar firms, with a further 1,600 employees on notice pending an announcement from the government on the future of the solar subsidy. In total, 90% of all respondents said jobs have been put at risk since the outcome of the general election.

Following Mark Group, Climate Energy and Southern Solar all entering into administration in October, 1,200 job losses have already been confirmed in the solar industry, not including those revealed by this latest survey. This means an estimated 1,800 jobs have gone prior to the FiT cuts being confirmed, with an announcement due from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in the coming weeks.

In addition to the threats to jobs, over a quarter (26%) of firms claim their entire business is at risk from closure, with a further 63% saying half of their company is threatened by the FiT cuts.

Paul Barwell, chief executive of the STA, said: “Those 1,800 jobs that we know have already gone represent technical skills and experience that has been built up in the solar industry over the last five years. It is this very supply chain and know-how that is essential to delivering low-cost solar. And yet the Government is at risk of throwing many more of these jobs away.”

The survey represents around 9% of the 2,380 solar companies believed to make up the UK sector. If the findings are accurate to the whole industry, the STA estimates 6,500 jobs could have already been lost, with a further 18,500 on notice. If DECC confirms its plans to cut the solar FiT by 87%, an estimated 25,500 jobs could be under threat which, in addition to those already lost this year, is line with the STA’s forecast in October of 27,000 jobs out of a total 35,000 in the industry.

While the survey was conducted confidentially, the STA published some of the anonymous responses to its research. One said: “After eight years building a renewable energy business this is a very difficult time for us. To see a government simply destroy all the good ground that has been made will be a legacy that will stick with the Cameron, Osborne and Rudd trio for a long time.”

Others included: “the FIT review, if implemented, will kill our business dead. Solar PV will not be financially viable for our customers who are mainly domestic,” and “we no longer have any faith in the government’s words in relation to renewables (Amber Rudd’s ‘unleashing a solar revolution’ springs to mind). We will never again trust the government on renewable incentives and will never plan our business activities around assuming that anything they say is true.”