The UK industry “risks being left behind” says STA chief

The Solar Trade Association (STA) has warned the industry is at “crunch point” as rooftop deployment rates tumble.

The trade body has issued a fresh plea for the government to stop business rate increases for rooftop solar as official figures show domestic deployment in the first quarter of the year has fallen by 75 per cent, compared to the average rate when the feed-in-tariff first started in 2010.

The figures, which were released by Ofgem last week, also show the deployment of rooftop systems 50kW and larger has decreased by 65 per cent, compared to last year’s average deployment rate.

The STA is also calling for more accurate official data to help boost the domestic solar industry.

In addition, it has called on the government to create a “level playing field” by allowing solar to compete in future contracts for difference (CfD) auctions.

“With policy crunch points clearly hurting solar this spring, we urge government to act now to stabilise the industry,” said STA chief executive, Paul Barwell.

“Solar power led global renewables growth last year and it has an extraordinary future elsewhere,” he added. “But solar is being needlessly impeded in the UK by shock taxes, red tape and by a serious failure in the only remaining supportive policy.

“The UK solar industry risks being left behind, while other major economies strengthen their stake in a booming world market.”
Excessive business rate increases could leave some operators going bust,

Earlier this month, the chief executive of the British Hydropower Association, Simon Hamlyn, warned some hydro operators could go bust, because of business rate increases.

Hamlyn said he has recently written to BEIS demanding to know what the “joined-up thinking” is in Whitehall.

“It’s an absolute disaster,” said Hamlyn. “It’s causing huge problems across the country.”

A BEIS spokesman said: “This Government wants Britain to be one of the best places in the world to invest in clean, flexible energy.

“Solar power is a great success, with over 11 GW of capacity installed in the last five years that’s enough to power more than 2.6 million homes with clean electricity.”