Climate Change Minster’s Speech on Solar

Last week the UK’s Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, delivered the speech ‘Energising the Big Society – The Role of Local Energy’ to the Micropower Council. EvoEnergy have recently been liaising closely with the government and attended the speech at the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) on Tuesday.

“In my introduction I mentioned the financial incentives that are in place to support microgeneration. These are absolutely vital to drive our ambitions. The Coalition is absolutely committed to FITs and indeed it was the collective votes in Parliament of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats that defeated the last Government and ensured that FITS were included in the last energy Bill.

I have been really encouraged by the positive response that the FITs scheme has received since its introduction in April and hope this will continue.

It’s still early days but early indications show that the scheme is working well. My best information is that Ofgem’s live FITs data showed the number of FITs installations is approaching the 15,000 mark, with nearly 55 megawatts of installed capacity supported by the scheme.

The recent Spending Review made clear our commitment to FITs but also to maximising the scheme’s value for money, particularly in the current fiscal climate. That is why when every area of Government is looking to tighten its belt we have said that we will look to reduce the scheme’s projected costs in 2014/15 by at least £40 million i.e. 10%. This is in line with changes made in other European countries, as technology costs come down.

This doesn’t represent any watering down of our ambition, far from it. The coalition Government is committed to an ambitious roll out of the widest possible range of domestic and community scale renewables, but there is a potential problem.

The fact is we inherited a system from the previous administration that simply failed to anticipate the potential for industrial scale stand alone, greenfield solar. While we will not act retrospectively, large greenfield based solar farms will not be allowed to distort the available funding for domestic solar technologies.

We want to see an ambitious roll out of solar panels on Britain’s roof space but not all over the countryside. I will not allow the hard won available funding to be scooped up by a few industrial scale PV farms at the expense of the domestic or small business installations.

The economies of greenfield stand alone solar are clearly very different from roof top installations, but that is not reflected in the scheme, not least because the last administration failed to listen properly to industry.

At the moment there is no cause for undue alarm but if the current growth of solar farms show signs of getting out of hand, I will act. Speculators and hot money should find another home for their investments.

Sustained long-term growth is our aim and I shall be listening carefully to the industry at the roundtable I have convened for tomorrow to ensure that’s what we deliver.”

At EvoEnergy we’re supportive of solar technology and roof top installations. We agree that any deployment of Solar PV in the UK is a good thing. However, we believe the best place for solar is on our roof tops.

Ref: DECC

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