As the consultation period on the Government’s proposed feed-in tariff (FiT) cuts draws to a close today, industry figures have voiced their concerns about solar’s long-term future should the coalition follow through with its controversial plan.

Since launching its comprehensive review of the country’s FiT at the start of February, which featured a proposal to drastically reduce subsidies for installations larger than 50kW, the Government has received nearly 400 responses. And among these replies were several notable names in the industry, including the Renewable Energy Association’s Leonnie Greene, who lobbied intensively for less severe cuts.

“Our view is that the overall ambition is much too low and the government clearly does not understand the strategic importance of solar,” Greene said. “We are going back to a scenario where a few wealthy green home owners can install solar, when we want to be widening access to solar, particularly through community scale projects.”

Greene’s sentiments have been echoed by developers and industry trade groups alike, with many of these forecasting that the review will undermine investor confidence and bring a halt to all large-scale solar developments.

Nevertheless, until the review is set in stone, some industry insiders are holding out hope that the government may rethink the scale of the cuts for mid-sized solar installations, particularly after recent research revealed that, under the proposed new FiT rates, no solar installations with a capacity above 50kW would be able to deliver the government's targeted rate of return of between 5% and 8%.

However, with George Osborne’s hands still clutching tightly to the treasury’s purse strings, it is undeniable that the overriding feeling in the industry is one of pessimism, highlighted by Solar Trade Association chairman Howard Johns’ claims that, “[Ministers] seemed to enter into this consultation with a very clear result in mind – which is one of the reasons they are now facing legal action.”