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Solar company calls for £100m budget to protect industry

Solarcentury has pledged its support for the STA’s £100m solar industry rescue plan.

According to the firm, with this level of support the sector would still shrink in size, with accompanying job losses – so it would the absolute minimum amount required to sustain the country’s solar industry.

The government’s proposal to provide £7m to support solar from 1 January 2016 has been criticised by industry experts. Solarcentury said the amount would only subsidise Hinkley Point.

Chief executive Frans van den Heuvel said:  “The effect on Solarcentury is not as great as it is on other solar companies given our international presence. However, in housing programmes alone, we’ve already had £16m of confirmed business cancelled that equates to approximately 6,500 homes that won’t benefit from solar panels. And this is just a small part of a much larger pipeline of business that won’t happen if the cuts go ahead as planned.

“The UK urgently needs to cut its carbon emissions, yet the government wants to slash our investment in solar at the same time as the US, China and other large economies are embracing renewable technologies. These confusing policy signals are already damaging investor confidence, before the outcome of the proposal has even been announced; over a thousand jobs have been lost in the UK and global players like Zep Solar and SunEdison are both pulling out of the market.

“Why is the government using bill payers’ money to support overseas state-backed utilities rather than British solar companies, which would have considerable further growth prospects with a modest level of subsidy support?”

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