Government slammed over "chaotic" solar tariff delays

The opposition has slammed the “chaotic mismanagement” of solar subsidy cuts by the Coalition government, following further changes to the Feed in Tariff programme.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced that solar subsidies for photovoltaic panels would be pushed back to 1 August, a month later than planned.

In a statement given to TechEye, Labour MP Luciana Berger claimed that the continued confusion around the solar cuts was piling misery onto the industry.

“This government’s chaotic mismanagement of the cuts has hurt families already hit by soaring energy bills and a recession made in Downing Street, strangled a growing industry,” Berger said, cost thousands of jobs and undermined investment across the entire low-carbon sector.”

“Ministers failed to set out any sort of plan to deliver 22GW of solar power by 2020. Nothing in the government’s announcement will give any comfort to a solar industry that has badly stalled since the last round of cuts,” Berger said.

The government had initially intended to put cuts in place sooner – with a boom in installations creating spiralling costs – and a protracted legal campaign ensued as the industry fought back against cuts which were perceived as “knee-jerk”.

After losing a number of court battles, initial cuts were put in place in March. 

Energy secretary Ed Davey recently indicated that the latest cuts would be delayed from the 1 July timeframe, saying a delay should be expected, though it was likely to be just a “tweak”.

In today’s announcement from the DECC, minister Greg Barker acknowledged the tough times the industry has been through, highlighting aims to boost growth in the future. “Today starts a new and exciting chapter for the solar industry,” Davey said.

“The sector has been through a difficult time, adjusting to the reality of sharply falling costs, but the reforms we are introducing today provide a strong, sustainable foundation for growth for the solar sector,” he said.