It is great testament to the distinct lack of respect the Conservative government has towards renewables that national newspapers and media agencies have tended to hear of looming policy decisions before the industry has a chance to.

Since the Tories swept to a surprise majority in May’s general election, no fewer than nine green energy schemes had been cut. This week’s feed-in tariff proposals made it an even ten and the Department for Energy and Climate Change arguably saved the worst for last, effectively cutting the legs away from the residential market as it edged towards a subsidy-free finishing line.

But aside from the actual damage such cuts will inevitably do to the industry, one of the more frustrating factors is that the industry has been informed of these decisions via leaks emerging in national newspapers days before their official release and second-hand discussions with anonymous officials reported on radio talk shows.

Prior to the double hit of the cancellation of pre-accreditation and Renewables Obligation support for sub-5MW solar farms on 22 July, reports warned of a “big reset” to solar subsidies almost a week before the actual announcement. What was first alluded to in weekend broadsheets was corroborated by a BBC World at One reporter, whose source was said to be someone within the Cabinet.

This was followed by last week’s Sunday Times carrying reports of a 50% hit to the feed-in tariff to be disclosed in the coming weeks. Similar rumours had been sweeping the industry for some time and while the timing of the announcement was not much of a surprise, a national newspaper again proving to be the source of news with a wide-reaching impact on the industry is similarly disrespectful.

That the cuts suggested by The Times fell far short of what was actually looming – an astonishing 87% reduction – is perhaps evidence that even “anonymous Cabinet sources” were too reluctant to leak for fear of not being believed.

It’s a source of great frustration for Hyperion Executive Search managing partner David Hunt, who says that the UK solar industry is being “undermined” by leaks of this nature. “Every time the government indulges in unofficial briefings, it further undermines a sector that is still in its formative stages but which is already doing so much good for the economy,” he says.

Hunt’s sentiments echo those previously mentioned by Solarcentury head of public affairs Seb Berry, who said the “implied threats” contained within such leaks were only serving to scare off investment in the space, and Community Energy England chairman Philip Wolfe who said the “recent string of panic announcements” had been “anything but orderly”.

For an industry that prior to the election repeatedly called for stability and certainty to be treated in such a fashion is evidence of either a wilful ignorance at government level, or an opinion that the renewables industry is a soft touch. It’s improbable that this government would ever consider ending the tax breaks granted to North Sea oil and gas production, but unthinkable that it would dare leak revelations of that kind to the press before letting the likes of Cuadrilla and Centrica down gently before hand.

Comparing the access and exposure the oil and gas industry enjoys to the renewables industry is perhaps unfair, but it serves as further validation of the government’s double standard when it comes to energy generation. Most within the solar industry recognised the validity of cuts to some degree, but they deserve to be far better treated than hearing about them through the grapevine.