With just two days to go before Government announces the results of the feed-in tariff consultation: phase 1, Friends of the Earth (FoE) has urged the new Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, to announce steps to safeguard the 29,000 solar jobs “currently threatened by disastrous Government proposals to reform the solar subsidy scheme.”
Having stepping up to the helm just days ago, Davey is now faced with the task of moving the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) past the current court case debacle and on to a brighter, carbon-free future.
Andy Atkins, Friend of the Earth's Executive Director, said: “New Energy Secretary Ed Davey must ride to the rescue of thousands of UK solar jobs by insisting on significant changes to Government proposals to overhaul its solar subsidy scheme.
“The response to the public consultation on the disastrous solar subsidy proposals is a golden opportunity to sort out the mess the Coalition has created and re-establish the Government’s commitment to a clean energy future.”
Earlier this month the Court of Appeal confirmed that Government proposals to cut solar tariff payments for any scheme completed after December 12, 2011 – 11 days before the official consultation ended, was unlawful. This followed a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms, Solarcentury and HomeSun.
Since the court case began many working in the UK solar industry have vented their opinion, with most agreeing that cuts needed to go ahead.
“Falling installation costs mean solar subsidies should be cut – but this should be done in a way that protects jobs and allows more cash-strapped households to plug into clean energy,” Atkins explained.
“Developing the UK’s huge renewable energy potential is essential to tackle the huge damage caused by our dependency on expensive fossil fuels – a clean energy future and a strong economy are two sides of the same coin.”
Government is now strongly urged by the UK solar industry and FoE to drop the intended appeal to the Supreme Court in a bid to move the market forward.
A wider review of the Government's feed-in tariff scheme is also due to be published on Thursday.