Barker: 'UK solar is in business'

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker has today urged businesses and households to consider investing in solar installations, after the government brought to an end months of uncertainty by announcing a new system for managing the feed-in tariff incentive scheme.

Barker said “We can now look with confidence to a future for solar which will see it go from a small cottage industry, anticipated under the previous scheme, to playing a significant part in Britain's clean energy economy.

"UK solar is in business – this is no bubble, this is a strong foundation for ambitious and sustainable growth".
Barker today announced the government would delay the next wave of cuts to solar feed-in tariff incentives until August 1 and reduce incentives for installations with under 4kW of capacity to 16p/kWh – a cut that is at the bottom end of the range considered by the government.

Similar cuts will also come into effect for larger installations, while the government has trimmed the payment period under the feed-in tariff scheme from 25 years to 20 years, while ensuring that all payments remain index-linked to inflation.

DECC also set out a new system for automatically reducing or freezing feed-in tariffs every three months based on the level of installations carried out during the preceding quarter.

"We now have a framework to take the politics out of the degression decisions," said Barker. "We have created the opportunity for deployment at scale that is both ambitious and affordable. It is transparent, predictable, and responsive to the market."

He added that the changes marked a significant increase in the government's ambition towards the solar sector that will result in the projected number of rooftop installations climbing from 250,000 by 2015 to one million by the same date.

"We have a vision of a more decentralised energy economy," he said. "We expect to see not just investment at a domestic level, but real investment in business schemes... There is now a strong case for taking advantage of solar for cost reasons – the transformation in the costs of the technology have been remarkable."

The proposals were broadly welcomed by the solar industry and green campaigners.