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20,000 solar jobs at risk

More than 20,000 more jobs in the solar industry could be lost as a result of proposed cuts to government subsidies, according to the Solar Trade Association.

A sample of 204 solar companies surveyed by industry body have already been forced to make 576 staff redundant, with another 1,600 on notice if the planned 87 per cent cut to feed-in tariffs goes ahead.

The STA said that if the figures reflect the wider industry, where more than 2,000 companies list solar as a primary business, then more than 20,000 jobs could be on the line, with as many as 6,500 people already having been made redundant.

The figures from the survey do not include the 1,200 jobs thought to have been lost as a result of the bankruptcies of Mark Group, Climate Energy and Southern Solar earlier in the autumn.

The STA had previously estimated that 27,000 jobs – out of around 35,000 across the industry in the UK – could go as a result of the cuts.

STA chief executive Paul Barwell said: “Those 1,800 jobs that we know have already gone represent technical skills and experience that has been built up in the solar industry over the last five years.

“It is this very supply chain and know-how that is essential to delivering low-cost solar. And yet the government is at risk of throwing many more of these jobs away.”

A number of MPs have backed the STA’s so-called “£1 rescue plan” for the industry, which it says could preserve subsidies and protect jobs by adding just £1 to the average household energy bill.