Cut to solar energy feed-in tariff puts up to 27,000 jobs at risk across the UK

Roofers and solar close (C) Forster Energy

New analysis unveiled today by the Solar Trade Association which was commissioned from the Government’s research partner on low-carbon jobs data, TBR Economic Research [1], has shown for the first time how the 35,000 jobs in the solar industry and its supply chain are distributed across the regions of the UK.

The Solar Trade Association has estimated that the jobs of up to 27,000 people in the solar energy sector (out of a total of 35,000) could be at risk due to the proposed 87% cut to the domestic feed-in tariff for solar energy.

Region Solar PV employment – direct and indirect (TBR) Employment at risk due to Feed-in Tariff cut (STA)
North East 1,530

 

1224
Wales

 

2,010

 

1,608

 

East of England

 

2,340

 

1,872

 

East Midlands

 

2,630

 

2,104

 

London

 

2,740

 

2,192

 

Scotland

 

2,990 2,392
Yorkshire and the Humber 3,230

 

2,584
West Midlands

 

3,310

 

2,648

 

South West 3,800

 

3,040

 

North West

 

4,370 3,496
South East

 

5,310

 

4,248

 

Total (including NI and Channel Islands) 34,850

 

27,880

 

 

The South East is set to be the worst affected with over 4,000 solar jobs at risk. The North West is also heavily affected with 3,500 of its 4,300 solar jobs threatened by the cuts, says the Solar Trade Association.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change proposed at the end of August to cut the tariff paid for electricity generated by solar rooftop panels from 12.4p to 1.6p as of January 2016.

Strikingly, the Government’s proposal favours solar in the South West and the south coast of England and discriminates against much of the rest of the country [2].

Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, explained:

“Within this new set of proposals, the Government has used sunlight levels you might find in Devon, rather than those found in Yorkshire as they have done in the past. Here at the Solar Trade Association however we believe more than just one corner of the country should be able to get the benefits of going solar.”

“The government’s short-term thinking on bills is condemning hardworking families to a future of higher energy costs.”

Solar has been praised for the way it allows households and communities to take charge of their energy bills and act on climate change. An alliance of organisations ranging from the National Farmers Union, the Confederation of British Industry, social housing providers and local authorities recently urged the government to “urgently reconsider” its proposed cuts [3].

Alasdair Cameron, Friends of the Earth’s renewables campaigner said:

 

“The government’s war on renewable energy threatens tens of thousands of solar jobs and billions of pounds in investment, which could leave the UK trailing far behind other countries on green energy.”

 

Across the UK there are currently just under 700,000 solar homes.

Members of the public who are concerned about the Government’s moves and would like to get involved can sign this official petition [4] and use this Friends of the Earth website [5] to write to their local MP about the cut to solar.

 

ENDS

 

Any media wishing more information, case studies, photos or further regional data should contact the Solar Trade Association.

 

Please find below a regional breakdown of the data. For more information please contact the Solar Trade Association direct.

 

Notes to Editors

 

[1] TBR Economic Research undertook an analysis for the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in March 2015 entitled “The Size and Performance of the UK Low Carbon Economy”. TBR has since undertaken more detailed analysis to break down jobs data for the solar PV industry at a granular (regional and local) level.

[2] Up until now the Government’s calculations have been based on the average sunlight levels you find in Sheffield, roughly the middle of the country. The sunlight level you assume determines the amount of electricity you are going to get out of a solar installation, which in turn determines how quickly a system will pay back the investment and the rate of return on that investment. Within the Feed-in Tariff review consultation published last month however the Government are assuming sunlight or ‘solar irradiation’ levels, you might usually find in the South West of England such as in Exeter, Devon. The South West has the highest level of solar irradiation across the country. The Solar Trade Association believes that the Government should revert to using Sheffield as its basis for calculations on solar PV.

[3] An alliance of stakeholders published a statement on 17 September urging the Government to ‘reconsider’ extreme proposals http://www.solar-trade.org.uk/solar-industry-welcomes-growing-call-for-government-to-reconsider-extreme-feed-in-tariff-proposals/

[4] The official petition to the Government on solar can be found here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/106791

[5] The Friends of the Earth write to your MP platform can be accessed here: https://www.foe.co.uk/news/save-our-solar-government-cuts-would-cost-1000s-jobs