Donning a pair of boots and a raincoat, I ventured out last Tuesday to show our support to the STA campaign to “save our solar”outside the houses of parliament last week. The STA’s ingenius £1 Save our Solar Campaign proposes a £1 increase on energy bills up to 2019 as an alternative to the Governments proposed cuts. A win-win, allowing a viable solar industry to continue and giving the Government the cost control it needs.
This would require a total of £95 million over the next three years, as against the £7 million the Government is proposing over the same period. This investment would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 875,000 homes.Most importantly it proposes higher and more flexible caps on the total amount of solar that can be deployed and an improved mechanism to continually bring support levels down.
Contrary to what the Government probably thinks, the industry welcome’s the chance to achieve grid parity and become subsidy free. The reality is however, that we need support to just continue for the next few years in order to achieve that. What would be a disaster is if the proposed DECC cuts went ahead now and the very restrictive caps imposed, crippling the industry and wasting the public investment to date.
More than 30 MPs turned out despite the rain, and posed for pictures in green hats. Those that attended included Sir David Amess MP (Con), Mims Davies MP (Con), Kevin Hollinrake MP (Con), Caroline Flint MP (Lab), Caroline Lucas MP (Green), Callum McCaig MP (SNP) and Tom Brake MP (Lib Dem).
Picture Photo above, left to right: Paul Barwell, STA; Sir David Amess MP (Con); Leonie Greene, STA; Peter Keep, Sun4Net; Isabella O’Dowd, STA; Julia Groves, Trillion Fund; Helen Hayes MP (Lab); Zoe Symington, Alternergy; Sonia Dunlop, STA; Charles Perry, SecondNature.
Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association said:
“This emergency plan represents a compromise agreement which, given the current crisis, aims to find a way forward that is acceptable for both the Government and the solar industry.”
“The fact that this plan costs just £1 per household shows just how affordable it could be to adopt steady, gradual reductions in support for solar.”
“Solar is close to grid parity, but it is not there yet. The Government’s 98% cut in the overall budget for solar would derail the industry at the last hurdle and waste the millions of public investment in solar to date.”