Barker: Solar consultation will be published ‘shortly’

The minister for climate change Greg Barker has confirmed that the government will issue a consultation over changes to solar’s support under the Renewable Obligation (RO).

Responding to a written question by Caroline Lucas MP, Barker confirmed that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) “will issue a public consultation shortly proposing changes to financial support for solar PV”.

In addition, the minister confirmed news Solar Power Portal reported last week that the proposals on which DECC will consult over “are intended to take effect from the 2015-16 financial year”. This would mean that schemes scheduled to come online under the 1.4ROC regime will be unaffected.

Lucas asked whether DECC has carried out any assessment of levels of public support for solar to which Barker responded that solar has consistently scored over 81% in DECC’s public attitudes tracking survey. However, Barked added: “These figures relate to support for solar PV in general, rather than any specific form of solar energy generation. In addition, the survey does not include any reference to large-scale or ground-based solar.”

Reacting to the imminent review, Nick Boyle managing director of the UK’s largest solar developer Lightsource, said: “This cut scares me because there is no reason for it. This is a government that is supposedly technology agnostic. We cannot roll over and let this happen. There is no reason for this cut other than the threat of UKIP winning some seats perhaps.”

Nick Boyle’s full speech at the Large Scale Solar UK Conference at Kelham Hall in Nottinghamshire can be viewed below: