Large-scale solar could be saved

Financial Mail revealed this weekend that there could still be hope for the UK’s solar industry. According to an article published in The Daily Mail, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is working on a plan to save the future development of large-scale systems.

Last Thursday the Solar Power Portal reported that DECC had made the controversial decision to go ahead with its proposed feed-in tariff cuts, affecting systems over 50kW. Industry has been up in arms since this announcement, claiming that the decision serves only to kill the industry, losing thousands of people their jobs, billions of pounds of investment and casting yet more uncertainty over the as-yet-untouched residential sector.

It is now thought that ministers plan an abrupt change of policy in an effort to rescue the industry.

Reports now claim the Department has been working on plans to revive large-solar farms by including them under the Renewable Obligation Certification (ROC) scheme, which places a requirement on UK suppliers of electricity to source an increasing proportion of their electricity from renewable sources.

Full details and the size of this new subsidy are expected to be made in the autumn, yet changes will no go through until 2013, when the second round of revised tariffs take effect.

Although this seems to be good news for the large-scale industry, solar supporters are now urging Government to bring the changes forward, arguing that 2013 will be too late.

Howard Johns, Chairman of the Solar Trade Association asks, “Will there be an industry by then?”