Top solar company criticises FIT review

The founder of Ecotricity has warned that the company’s first British sun park may be the country’s last in light of the Government’s FIT cuts.

Dale Vince founder of Ecotricity says that the proposed slashing of support by the Government under the Feed-In Tariff, which is not yet one year old, will pull the rug from under a fledgling industry that has created more than 130,000 jobs in Germany.

The Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme has already been run successfully in over 50 other countries around the world, and is designed to reward individuals and organisations generating energy from renewable sources including solar, small-scale wind, micro-hydro and biomass.

The Coalition Government claims that large scale solar projects were not envisaged under the FIT regulations.

In their announcement, the Government have indicated that they intend to slash the price paid for large solar from 30p per unit of electricity to just 8p. A suggestion that has received criticism by the solar industry.

Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity, said: “Britain stood on the brink of a solar power revolution when the last government introduced FITs, with cross-party support.  This new Government have acted with incredible haste to effectively shut down the solar industry.

“It’s hard to make sense of that when Britain urgently needs to be building its own sources of clean energy and when solar, which has been so successful elsewhere in Europe, could play such a vital role.

“There’s no economic sense either in supporting household solar at the expense of big solar, as the Government are. Household solar costs us all 50 per cent more than big solar does for each unit of electricity made and each tonne of carbon saved – it’s economic madness to choose such inefficiency in these times of severe austerity.

“The total cost of the FIT scheme is projected to be just £5 a year per household by 2014 – that’s all this Government will commit to renewables. Meanwhile they prepare to announce the award of three times that sum (£1 Billion in total) to one energy company in the UK, to build a clean coal project. This shows where the Governments priorities truly lie.

“And for the sake of £5 a year on a bill, this isn’t a question of ‘can we afford to do it?’, but can we afford not to? Every time the oil price doubles, like it has in the past two years, it adds 30 per cent to our energy bills. By comparison the FIT is set to add one per cent. It’s hardly going to protect us from the oil price shocks that are coming.”

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