Leeds-based Oakapple Renewable Energy Limited is set to continue with a planned £100 million investment in the solar industry despite the proposed cut to the feed-in tariff (FiT).

Oakapple remains confident that solar PV installations will still represent a viable long-term commercial investment.

Swimming against the tide of opinion within the solar industry, Oakapple believes that the reduction to the tariff could actually be a benefit to the UK industry, as the lower rate will accelerate the expulsion of less professional operators and discourage foreign companies from entering the market.

Oakapple also believes that the largest benefactor from the FiT cut will be providers of free solar panels and roof leasing arrangements. Oakapple argues that the diminished returns from the new FiT rate will drive interested parties toward paid-for schemes, as many will decide not to bear the financial burden of investing in the technology themselves.

According to Managing Director, Philip Taylor, the FiT reduction is great news for those opting for free solar panels.

“It is of paramount importance to those fitting free solar panels to ensure the system performs at its optimum level over the next 25 years in order to maximise the return from the FITs, as well as the generation of free electricity for the building owner,” he said. “This is in contrast to installers who have no financial interest in the system after the paid installation is complete.”

Taylor concluded, “We believe the ultimate beneficiary will be the end user, as it will encourage those within the industry to adopt a more forward-thinking and innovative approach to renewable energy technology.”