Industry shows healthy growth rates, welcomes Minister’s support and urges Government to provide policy stability

On the day that Greg Barker, Minister for Decentralised Energy endorses “Feed-In Tariffs” for solar power, the industry releases figures showing how the industry has growth since the introduction of the policy.  Since April, homeowners and commercial sites have benefitted from guaranteed long-term tariff rates for the green electricity they generate.

“In the first five months of the scheme, the tariffs have had more impact on solar PV than other technologies, but that’s hardly surprising,” said Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the REA.  “Solar panels are the most straightforward renewable power generation technology for the average householder.  All you need is some roof space with the right aspect.  It is usually rapid to install and planning permission is rarely required as it is permitted development.   Even so, it is important to keep this growth in perspective.  Last year, the UK installed just 2% of the PV installed in Belgium, so we have a lot of catching up to do.”

Since the tariffs were introduced there have been 6,930 PV installations serving domestic householders.  78 of these were larger schemes, serving multiple occupants and the rest householders themselves.  So far 1390 schemes which were installed before the Feed-In Tariffs began, have been transferred on to the Feed-in Tariff list, and more are in the process of transferral.  The deadline for transferring to the Feed-in Tariff list is 1st October. There has been interest in larger projects, but none have yet been commissioned.

The Renewable Energy Association has surveyed its members, and claims that the tariffs have resulted in a 62% increase in employment levels to date, with an overall increase of 125% likely by the end of the first tariff year.  The growth in jobs among companies supporting the ‘We Support Solar’ campaign is also consistent with the REA survey findings.

The Renewable Energy Association and the We Support Solar campaign are delighted with this progress, welcome Greg Barker’s support and call for long term stability in order to bring forward investment.

“This data is strong evidence that the industry is now starting to expand in the UK after many years of stop-start support which got us nowhere,” said Leonie Greene, Campaign Manager for ‘We Support Solar’.  “The UK industry needs a sustained period of confidence and stability to invest for growth, so that deployment can be increased and costs can come down in future.  It is very encouraging to see Energy Minister Greg Barker today recognising the importance of the FIT scheme for the emerging PV industry - and for communities that want the power to go green.” 

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