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PV plea to PM

The Prime Minister has been told to take action on supporting the solar power industry.

Representatives from the We Support Solar campaign delivered a letter to Gordon Brown on Monday calling for the Government to allocate more Low Carbon Buildings Programme cash to PV respond to the current demand for solar photovoltaics (PV) across the UK

The campaign is supported by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, Federation of Master Builders, Electrical Contractors Association, Architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and UK Photovoltaic Manufacturers Association.

It claims the solar photovoltaics industry in the UK has the potential to deliver over 100,000 construction jobs in the UK by 2020, but only if the Government quickly sorts out its grant funding programmes.

Solarcentury founder Jeremy Leggett said: 'When I was asked to address the Prime Minister’s jobs summit just three short months ago cabinet ministers assured me personally that green jobs and investment would lie at the very heart of the Government's recovery programme. Solar PV in the UK has the potential to deliver over 100,000 British jobs by 2020.

“And yet a few short weeks later the reality is that we are once again scrabbling about trying to patch up an under funded grant scheme, pleading with Ed Miliband's officials to shuffle a few million here and a few million there, and banging our heads against a brick wall of departmental delay and disinterest.

“The UK can ill afford to lose a single skilled solar engineer or electrician but the Government appears to be sleep-walking to a green tech job loss disaster of its own making. Where is the urgency and the political will to sort this out?'

Andrew Lee of Sharp UK and the UK PV Manufacturers Association said 'The ongoing suspension of all PV grants under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2 backdated to February 13 has plunged the UK PV industry yet again into a state of needless uncertainty and disarray.

“Schools, housing associations and other customers are still being told they cannot have a grant for the technology of their choice. With £14 million left uncommitted in the programme and less than three months to go before it ends, this is a truly baffling decision and one that Ministers now need to get on top of very urgently.'

The Low Carbon Buildings Programme was launched in December 2006 as the Government's main support for solar power and other renewable energy technologies. So far solar power has accounted for 66 per cent of committed and 70 per cent of completed projects.