REA and Friends of the Earth call for clarity on Feed-In Tariffs, to safeguard solar jobs

The uncertainty created by the FIT review announcement risks destabilising recruitment in the solar power sector, unless stability is quickly restored to the scheme.

REA recently stated that the Feed-in Tariff would have lead to the creation of 17,000 new solar jobs by the end of 2011.  This was based on the preliminary results of a survey of the entire UK PV sector[1].

There are currently around 10,000 jobs in the UK PV sector.  This was set to rise to 15,000 by the Spring and 17,000 by the end of the year.  The current uncertainty risks inhibiting recruitment and threatens existing employment.  The REA and Friends of the Earth are want DECC to act quickly to stabilise the scheme.

REA Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell said;

"Ministers are anxious to reassure us that community-scale projects need not be duly alarmed, but the proposals to review everything over 50kW catches these kinds of schemes.  Anyone developing a project needs to know they can complete the projects they have already started.  They also need a clear idea of the likely future levels, so they can plan ahead.  REA is keen to work with DECC to establish as much stability as possible, ASAP ".

REA and Friends of the Earth led the campaign for Feed-In Tariffs and have been disappointed by the Coalition Government's decreased ambition for the scheme.

Alan Simpson, Sustainable Energy Adviser at Friends of the Earth said;

"We want to see DECC greatly increase its ambitions for solar power in line with other major EU economies.  DECC asserts that PV is expensive, but that very short-term view ignores the huge cost reduction pathway of this technology and the tremendous opportunity for green jobs and growth.  The UK is now alone among the big EU economies in treating this technology as niche.  Any review should address these embarrassingly low ambitions."

All countries, as well as the International Energy Agency and BP, expect solar PV to be as cheap as standard grid electricity by the end of the decade.  The IEA expects PV to provide more than 10% of global power supply by 2050, Greenpeace International expects it to account for over 20%.

[1] This research was carried out by the Solar Power Portal, and so far has achieved a 38% response rate out of over 1500 companies contacted.

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