Cut to solar energy feed-in tariff risks many of the 3,000 solar jobs in Scotland

A new study published by the Government’s official partner on jobs data today has shown for the first time just how many solar jobs, including those in the solar supply chain, there are in every region and local area.

Nationwide the Solar Trade Association has estimated that the jobs of up to 27,000 people employed in the solar energy sector and its supply chain are under threat.

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.

John Forster, Chairman of Forster Energy, a local solar energy company based in Brechin, Angus commented:

“The Prime Minister should be backing the hundreds of small and medium sized local solar businesses like mine rather than big state-owned foreign utilities.”

“With a team of 43 people involved in the day to day running of our solar installation business, the impact of the UK Government’s proposed cuts would be devastating to our business, our suppliers and our employees.”

Across Scotland there are currently 40,841 solar homes and 975 big solar rooftops on schools, warehouses and other commercial buildings.

Solar has been praised for the way it allows households and communities to take charge of their energy bill 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 proposal

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, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, explained:

“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 Solar Trade Association 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.”

Anyone who is 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.

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