Last week, the government announced a review of Feed-in Tariffs that sent shock-waves through the renewable energy industry. Any installation over 50kW capacity regardless of whether they will be installed on private or social housing is included in this.

“Feed-in tariff’s have been a huge success – the Government should be planning to expand the scheme, not holding a knee-jerk review aimed at applying the financial brakes,”  suggested Friends of the Earth’s Energy Adviser Alan Simpson.

The UK urgently neeeds to boost its renewable energy capacity to tackle the twin threats of rising fuel prices and global climate change caused by our reliance on gas, coal and oil. It lags well behind other European countries and must not miss the boat in terms of the economic opportunities from developing new technology.

“This review is exactly the kind of move that will kill off the confidence of investors who have flocked to take advantage of the scheme. Ministers should treble our targets for powering our homes and communities with green power, rather than trying to prune them.” Continued Mr Simpson.

Friends of the Earth believes that if the government wants to ensure that the benefits of feed-in tariff payments are reaped by households, farmers and communities it could attach planning conditions to large solar array proposals, requiring at least 50% local social ownership.

Friends of the Earth also believes that if the government wishes to adjust the levels of payments which are given to different sized projects, then a 1MW threshold on the opening Solar PV tariff rate would ensure that the majority of the work was still directed at the domestic, social and commercial sectors.

We are concerned that community buildings which could become more financially sustainable by getting solar panels to pay for other energy efficiency work will be deterred from doing so and that at a time when we need to accelerate the work of this sector, we’ll slow it down.

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