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Conservative MP speaks against “draconian” FiT plans

Somerset MP David Warburton has called for a re-think on controversial government plans to cut subsidies to the solar industry, Western Daily Press has reported.

He said the plans were likely to be “a disaster” for community energy projects.

More than 250 of the 400 community energy groups nationally are based in the South West.

Mr Warburton’s comments came after a solar panel project on the roof of Frome Medical Practice in Somerset funded by the local community was switched on as part of the town’s plans to become the first carbon-neutral town in the west.

Construction work is also under way on a second project to create a solar-powered community stand for Frome Town Football Club, which is set for completion later this month.

Mr Warburton described a drop of up to 87% in subsidies overnight as “draconian”.

Not-for-profit Frome Renewable Energy Co-op (FRECo) is behind the two projects, which are being supported by community energy specialists Mongoose Energy. Together, they raised a record £300,000 in five days earlier this year.

This will fund the schemes through a community share issue.

The 560 solar panels on Frome Medical Practice are also expected to save the centre £60,000 in electricity costs over the lifetime of the scheme by generating over 130,000kWs of clean energy.

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