Collective Sunstroke in Government
The Government recently announced that it was altering the tariff system that enables more people to give serious consideration to adapting their homes to take advantage of renewable energy. Wondering if the warm autumn sunshine had possibly affected those in power, I spoke to Chris Whitelock, who runs Pure Renewables about the changes.
DT: In light of the recent Government announcement to more than half the Solar PV Feed In Tariff, where does that leave a sector that was enjoying growth, employing a skilled workforce and contributing to our obligation to have 15% of our energy produced defined as renewable by 2020?
CW: Whilst I understand the reasons for reducing the tariff, what I, and most of the industry and a good portion of the general public, are struggling to come to terms with is both the severity of the cut and the speed with which it’s being implemented. In short the PV industry has created over 22,000 jobs, 4,000 businesses and contributes over £280m/annum in taxes to the Treasury. The cut in tariff will save £220m! As of 10 November, the Government is facing legal action from a number of solar PV industry leaders which focuses on the short-notice given (just 6 weeks) of the cut coming into force despite the ‘consultation’ on the tariff ending 2 weeks after that date on 23 December. The short notice given has thrown the industry into disarray with stock levels plummeting and customers being unsure of whether their system will be eligible for the current or new rate. The cut will not only affect the wealthier middle classes – solar PV was a key element in local authorities reducing the electricity bills of their tenants and therefore tackling fuel poverty.