The UK solar industry’s lobbying efforts need to be more positive if they are to stand out, says Friends of the Earth energy and climate campaigner Alasdair Cameron.
Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Cameron said that it was down to the industry to explain the “sheer potential and importance” of solar as a source of energy to the general public in order to generate more support.
“As a whole we need to do better at explaining its benefits. Sometimes its almost as if renewables is painted as something for enthusiasts and hobbyists, but it’s all about providing energy, security, life and resource,” Cameron added.
Solar and other renewables have found themselves in the crosshairs of the government since the Conservative Party swept to a majority victory in May. A total of nine green energy schemes have been cut and there had been some criticism that the renewables industry was seen as an easy target.
Central to these cuts is the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) forecasted £1.5 billion overspend under the Levy Control Framework, which the Treasury is desperate to get under control.
Cameron said that the solar industry now needed to “change the narrative” and press for renewables to stop being treated as a problem that the government needs to manage. “Solar need to be pushed as the opportunity it is, and help’s needed to guide it towards a subsidy-free future,” he said.
While the DECC consultation on the proposed removal of pre-accreditation periods for small-scale feed-in tariff installations closed yesterday, the industry still has just less than two weeks to respond to the consultation on the early closure of Renewables Obligation support for sub-5MW solar farms.
The industry’s trade bodies have urged for as many responses as possible to be sent to the department as a means of getting individual voices heard. Responses can be emailed to [email protected], or addressed to Renewable Financial Incentives Team, Department of Energy & Climate Change, 2nd Floor Area D, 3 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2AW.