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Solar Trade Association calls for £93m to save 20,000 industry jobs

The UK solar industry’s main trade body has launched a “£1 rescue package” it hopes will save dozens of firms and thousands of jobs within the sector.

The Solar Trade Association has proposed a subsidy arrangement with government that would add £1 to consumer bills by 2019.

This levy would grow incrementally to reach £1.06 in 2019, raising a total of £93m to be used to support the solar sector.

The package has been put forward in response to the government’s plans to cut solar subsidies by 87 per cent from 1 January 2016.

Current subsidy levels would raise £250m by 2019 if left unchanged, according to the STA, at an average additional cost of £6 to annual energy bills.

The proposed cuts would slash this figure to only £7m, it claimed, reducing the cost to billpayers to 8p per year.

The STA said the £1-per-year rescue package represented an acceptable compromise, cutting the cost for billpayers by six times from current solar subsidy levels.

The £1 would be in addition to the £9 currently imposed on billpayers to support clean technologies.

The government has said the proposed cuts are necessary to ensure the costs of renewables do not spiral out of control.

Last week, Construction News reported that the Elon Musk backed US firm SolarCity had closed its UK arm due to “current economics”.

This followed the news that Mark Group, Climate Energy and Southern Solar had all gone into administration as a result of the cuts, leading to more than 1,000 job losses.

The STA believes its plan could preserve between 15,000 and 20,000 jobs.

Chief executive Paul Barwell called on the government to “act quickly” to  implement the new plan.

“Solar is the future and this is recognised the world over,” he said.

“We think the British public will find it very hard to understand why government would decimate the nation’s favourite energy source for the sake of just a quid on bills.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has been contacted for a response.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Great idea, I hope the Government listens to the industry

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  • Interesting that the cost of electricity being artificially high due to Green Charges, has been cited as one of the reasons we are having to close down Steel Works.... perhaps we need to have a rethink on these things?

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