With all of the latest policy adjustments, feed-in tariffs reviews and threatened cuts causing such a huge amount of uncertainty in the UK, it is no wonder that IMS Research is now questioning the viability of the country’s solar industry. By proposing to reduce the tariff levels for PV systems over 50kW, the research company is concerned about the success of the UK’s solar future.

IMS Research believes that by proposing to reduce the feed-in tariff rates for solar energy schemes for rooftop systems which could generate 50-1000kW – while solar photovoltaic panels on a typical domestic roof generate just 3-4kW – the Government is all but ruling out the future of industrial applications.

Large-scale systems are also unlikely to be developed, according to the experts at IMS Research. These systems often drive economies in a market, and therefore bring costs down. By threatening the development of these systems the installation prices for photovoltaic solar energy schemes are likely to remain high in the UK.

Ash Sharma, Research Director for IMS Research’s Power & Energy Group believes it reveals the Government’s true agenda. “Effectively making solar energy uneconomic for commercial organisations demonstrates the Government’s lack of commitment to renewable sources. It also has an implication for the management of public buildings, such as hospitals and schools, for whom solar power will no longer be financially viable.

“Limiting solar power to small-scale installations means the sector will simply never take off, other than creating a niche industry. And while countries such as Japan, Italy, Germany, China and the U.S. have said that they will be giving greater financial support to solar power and already have substantial solar PV capacity in place, the UK government has taken the opposite approach, making it clear that nuclear energy is definitely part of the plan for power generation in the UK.”

There are also signs that the UK solar industry, which is currently one of the smallest markets globally, is in danger of losing valuable jobs, as the UK appears to turn its back on renewable energy. Research conduced by the Solar Power Portal on behalf of the REA highlighted that approximately 17,000 jobs could be at risk if the feed-in tariff rates were changed. This contrasts sharply with Germany’s market leading solar industry, where the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) says 83,000 jobs have been created in the solar industry.