The fact that the Government has lost the Feed in Tariffs legal case (although it is appealing the decision) and has been found to have acted illegally when it slashed subsidies paid to those who install renewable heating technology highights the need to address two fundamental problems.
That’s according to Paul Roche, renewables and sustainability director at the Grafton Group plc, the builders and plumbers merchants group.
“No matter what the motivation you cannot make changes prior to the close of a consultation period,” he says, adding that there is still a lack of a sufficient budget to enable this growing industry to be realised and a proposed structure that disadvantages the SME solar sector.
“The decision to decrease the percentage return on solar PV to single figures is sensible and expected. However, to base these rates on budget levels calculated as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, set in November 2010, is out of line with the current economic picture.
“Since the decision was taken last year to create a fixed budget FiT, the Government has changed its overall strategy and now recognises the need to inject funds into the economy tostimulate business and create jobs. The emerging renewable energy industry is showing sustained growth with companies investing millions to satisfy the growing demand for solarPV microgeneration, creating thousands of new jobs into the bargain.
“The Government is restraining the momentum of a burgeoning industry, one that has huge potential. Central to economic growth, a strong economy and business confidence in the future, will be for the UK to secure, sustainable and reliable sources of energy.
“Secondly and again at odds with Government thinking on the Green Deal, one of the fastestexpanding industry sectors – small businesses installing solar PV – will be squeezed out ofthe market if the Government’s plans on ‘linking FiTs to energy efficiency measures’ goesahead.
“The majority of SMEs who have entered the market are specialist solar PV installers whoare not geared up to install Energy Efficient Measures (EEM) such as cavity or solid wallinsulation. Only larger companies who can invest in the infrastructure necessary to offer atotal installed solution, would be able to cost-effectively operate in the marketplace.
“If the model set out in the consultation goes ahead, the industry will no longer be onedominated by SMEs. It will unfairly favour large organisations who can offer a far morediverse package of products to achieve the EEM objectives.
“The sustainable energy industry is one of the few success stories where performance is already going in the right direction. With a little care and foresight, it will naturally gather momentum, stimulate economic growth while contributing to the universal goal of futureenergy security.”