Solarcentury chief executive Frans van den Heuvel has warned the UK government that it is “going against the world” with its proposed feed-in tariff cuts.
The stark warning came at an event this morning to mark the opening of the company’s rooftop installation on London’s Tate Modern, and Van Den Heuvel also stated that the cuts had already cost Solarcentury £16 million worth of business, and could result in as many as 50 job losses from its residential supply chain.
“The impact on Solarcentury is not as great as it is on other companies given our international presence,” he said, explaining that the installations cancelled because of the proposals equate to approximately 6,500 homes without solar. “And this is just a small part of a much larger pipeline of business that won’t happen if the cuts go ahead as planned,” Van Den Heuvel added.
“These confusing policy signals are already damaging investor confidence before the outcome of the proposals has even been announced; over a thousand jobs have been lost in the UK, and global players like Zep Solar and SunEdison are both pulling out of the market.
“Why is the government using bill payers’ money to support overseas state-backed utilities rather than British solar companies, which would have considerable further growth prospects with a modest level of subsidy support?
“The UK government is going against the world [and] will be on the wrong side of history,” said Van Den Heuvel.
The Solarcentury chief inaugurated the 82kWp installation on the roof of the Tate Modern’s old turbine room this morning, which he said represented a “small ray of sunshine in an otherwise overcast few months” for the solar industry.
Also speaking at the event was Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s environmental adviser Matthew Pencharz, who said that the “centralised energy system is well past its sell by date” and warned that the proposed cuts placed the capital’s retrofit programmes – RE:FIT and RE:NEW – at risk.
The London Assembly has this morning called on Mayor Johnson to lobby the government over the cuts and issued a report specifically looking into the potential for solar energy in the capital ahead of an ‘Energy Plan’ for London, to be published in the coming months.
This article has been amended from its original version to clarify specific details on job losses mentioned by Frans van den Heuvel.