But we need your help to win
It took some time to believe quite how appalling government proposals for solar were in the latest FIT consultation. Given this is effectively all the solar industry has left after a summer of carnage, surely they wouldn't pull the rug entirely? Yes we knew the FIT consultation was likely to be bad, which is why we assembled a coalition of 100 supporters to write to the Prime Minister ahead of its publication. But it is still difficult to believe that government could come up with something quite so self-defeating in the face of success.
The shock has worn off and we are now in campaign mode. We've been extremely busy briefing MPs and I'm delighted with the strong show of support for solar from MPs of all parties at DECC oral questions this morning where Amber Rudd and Andrea Leadsom had to account for their recent decisions. Solar dominated the debate and it was noticable that ministers took care, after recent press, to talk respectfully about jobs and both frequently stressed their desire to see the industry flourish. However, as Alison McGovern MP said, the picture painted by Ministers is wildly out of step with the experience of people in the industry right now and the proposals now in black and white on the DECC website.
At the same time we have today published a joint statement from the FIT Alliance calling on government to reconsider the FIT consultation. The statement is backed by major heavyweights such as DuPont, Panasonic, IKEA, the NFU and even EnergyUK. Anyone who thinks the Big 6 support the attack on solar needs to think again. Everyone gets the world is going solar – even the CEO of Shell on Radio 4 today was clear that solar is our future. Tragically, only DECC is behind and it was great to see the new Labour shadow secretary of state at last make direct comparisons between the huge amounts of money government is again throwing at nuclear power when wind and solar are cheaper.
We will continue to grow this alliance and to put a voice and a face to the myriad of diverse organisations and communities who want and need solar power. Vital though the UK solar industry is, this is not just about our industry. It is about the shape of our future energy system and about enabling all parts of society to take charge of their climate impacts. Few technologies are more enabling than solar.
I'm delighted to once again be working with Friends of the Earth. We won the FITs working together with a broad-based alliance and I am confident that we can win again. But it won't be easy. Unlike big energy which has deep pockets and a big presence in Westminster the many interests in solar are small and dissipated all over the UK. We need to keep bringing them together and keep raising our voice. So far so good.
We also need every single solar company to contact their MP and make their case. It is hard to stress enough how critical this is. We understand many companies are in shock and struggling to recalibrate and see a future, but there is real hope we can turn this around if we continue to make the very strong case for this extraordinary technology and if we act together.
We're developing a programme of media, events and interventions for the next few months. If you want to get involved and if you have the skills and resources to help, please get in touch.