The government has cut subsidies to homes which install rooftop solar panels to the tune of 65%, shortly after it agreed to move quickly to a future of low-carbon energy at the Paris conference on climate change.
And the Department of Energy and Climate Change admits itself that the change could see up to 18,700 jobs lost across the industry.
Another subsidy scheme called the renewables obligation has been cut at the same time for both big and small-scale schemes, to the anger of both environmentalists and the solar industry, who have branded the moves as ‘misguided.’
The government, for its part, insists it must protect wider energy bills from the growing impact of renewable energy schemes.
From February, rooftop solar installers will receive 4.39p per kilowatt hour, rather than the existing 12.47p.
However, initially Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd was going to cut subsidies by nearly 90% to 1.63p. These plans faced a volley of criticism.
She claimed: “My priority is making sure energy bills are kept low while providing a realistic level of support for low-carbon technology which offers good value for money. It’s about getting the balance right. Subsidies should be temporary, rather than being part of a permanent business model.”
Additionally, by 2019 a £100m cap on spending would be in place.
Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, described the cuts as ‘misguided’ and ‘short-sighted.’
She stressed: “It doesn’t make sense to restrict one of the cheapest types of green energy.”
Friends of the Earth has also voiced its disappointment that, just days after the agreement of a deal in Paris to keep temperature increases below 2ºC, “the government has showed its real colours, and they’re not green.”
The Solar Trade Association said: “Cutting the renewables obligation for solar power isn’t in billpayers’ interests when solar will soon be the cheapest source of low-carbon energy. This needs to be thought again, especially in the wake of the Paris agreement.”
With solar panels and solar electricity being such a strong source of renewable energy, however, they are still worth investing in, cuts or not. Talk to us today.