By Max Clarke
90,000 jobs that would have been generated by Britain’s burgeoning solar industry have been jeopardised by the DECC’s proposed cut in the ‘feed-in-tariff’, according to a study carried out by UK based solar developers, mO3 Power.
Under the feed-in-tariff scheme, individuals or developers who generate power from solar — or other renewable sources - receive payments from their energy supplier based on how much energy they generate to off-set installation.
Last month, Greg Barker, Minister for Climate Change, announced a DECC proposal to cut the feed-in-tariff for medium sized solar developments by a massive 72%.
According to Ray Noble of the Renewable Energy Association: “This is an absolute disaster … no new projects will start if this proposal becomes law. This industry has been strangled at birth. The huge number of envisaged new jobs will disappear.”
“A buoyant solar power sector would have stimulated at least 90,000 jobs by the time Government spending cuts really start to bite later this year if the feed-in-tariffs had remained where they were,” said Ken Moss, CEO of mO3 Power — the UK’s largest solar developer.
Industry specialists cite Germany as an example where feed-in-tariffs have been successfully employed to build the most developed renewable power industry in the world and create 340,000 new jobs.
“mO3 Power had plans to generate one Gigawatt of renewable power from solar parks on brown field sites in the UK. We were prepared to invest £2.3 billion and would have created 20,000 new jobs ourselves,” said Mr Moss.
Sharp Solar employ 1,100 in manufacturing equipment in Wrexham. Andrew Lee, of Sharp Solar said: "[The review is] terrible news for the renewable energy sector — the steep rise in job creation will stop and morale within the industry will drop as a result of this remarkable U-turn."
German project developer juwi Solar, which has recently opened new offices in Birmingham, had planned 60MW of solar installations over the next two years.
Amiram Roth-Deblon, Head of Business Development of juwi Solar said: “The proposed FiT rate does not reflect the market price for photovoltaic systems in that scale, especially not if the rates are compared to the German FiT, which is a mature market. Furthermore large-scale off-shore wind gets about the same as proposed for larger scale solar PV, (8.5p), yet also receives large grants and subsidies that solar PV does not get. So the proposed PV tariff for >250kWp systems is totally unreasonable.
“We would have expected much higher rates to drive the UK PV market into growth instead of bust — which will happen with these uneconomical rates.”