Wind and solar power chiefs have denounced the UK Tory Government’s decision to scrap feed-in tariff subsidies – and with no plans to replace them – as being a hammer-blow to the industry and ‘not FiT for purpose’.
Solar industry advocates had hoped there would be a replacement for the scheme, but a newly-launched UK Government consultation launched has made it clear there will be no extension or new alternative to the tariff when FiT is axed in Spring 2019.
The Feed-in Tariff was established in 2010 and provides payments to owners of small-scale renewable generators at a fixed rate per unit of electricity produced, ensuring that the cost of installation is recouped over the lifetime of the generator.
As the cost of renewables has plummeted over the past eight years, this fixed rate payment has fallen by up to 90%.
The 2015 Feed-in Tariff review set out that the current FiT scheme would close in April 2019. The Government committed to setting out its policy on post-2019 support for small-scale renewables over a year ago but this has been repeatedly delayed, causing huge uncertainty for companies in the sector.
Consequently, anyone installing solar after April will no longer even be paid for exporting their excess solar electricity to local power grids.
Chris Hewett, chief executive of the STA said:
“Feed-In Tariffs have enabled around 800,000 households and 28,000 businesses to generate their own clean solar power to date, transforming the future of energy in the UK, and last week 10% of all UK electricity was generated by solar.
“The bad news is that the UK Government has been crystal clear on what policy measures will stop – including even very basic rights to fair export payments – but they are frighteningly vague on what comes next.
“There is real dismay that there is now a serious and needless policy gap between the end of FITs and the start of the new regime.
“We therefore ask the government to work with us and with the industry as a matter of urgency to fill that gap and ensure a smooth transition next March.”
Renewable UK also expressed disappointment at the decision to end the FiT subsidy scheme with no plans to replace it.
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“This is a huge blow to small-scale renewable generator owners across Scotland and once again, puts the UK Tory Government’s disregard for renewable energy at the sharpest odds with the SNP Government’s progressive energy policy here in Scotland.
“They have known the FiT would be closing for three years and the fact that they are only now beginning the conversation about new policies is really much too late.
“Companies in the renewables sector have helped tens of thousands of homes and businesses across Scotland to cut their energy costs and to make no replacement arrangements is simply not good enough.”