New analysis unveiled by the Solar Trade Association (STA), commissioned from the government’s research partner on low-carbon jobs data, TBR Economic Research, has shown for the first time how the 35,000 jobs in the solar industry and its supply chain are distributed across the regions of the UK.
The STA has estimated that the jobs of up to 27,000 people in the solar energy sector (out of a total of 35,000) could be at risk due to the proposed 87% cut to the domestic Feed-in tariff (FiT) for solar energy.
The South East is set to be the worst affected with over 4,000 solar jobs at risk. The North West is also heavily affected with 3,500 of its 4,300 solar jobs threatened by the cuts, says the STA.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change proposed at the end of August to cut the tariff paid for electricity generated by solar rooftop panels from 12.4p to 1.6p as of January 2016.
Strikingly, the government’s proposal favours solar in the South West and the south coast of England and discriminates against much of the rest of the country.
Paul Barwell, chief executive officer of the STA, said: “Within this new set of proposals, the government has used sunlight levels you might find in Devon, rather than those found in Yorkshire as they have done in the past. Here at the STA, however, we believe more than just one corner of the country should be able to get the benefits of going solar.
The government’s short-term thinking on bills is condemning hardworking families to a future of higher energy costs.”
Solar has been praised for the way it allows households and communities to take charge of their energy bills and act on climate change. An alliance of organisations ranging from the National Farmers Union, the Confederation of British Industry, social housing providers and local authorities recently urged the government to “urgently reconsider” its proposed cuts.
Alasdair Cameron, Friends of the Earth’s renewables campaigner said: “The government’s war on renewable energy threatens tens of thousands of solar jobs and billions of pounds in investment, which could leave the UK trailing far behind other countries on green energy.”
Across the UK there are currently just under 700,000 solar homes. Members of the public who are concerned about the government’s moves and would like to get involved can sign this official petition and use this Friends of the Earth website to write to their local MP about the cut to solar.