Subsidy cuts may jeopardise large-scale solar farms, say green campaigners

Wiltshire Times: The future of large-scale solar farms may be in doubt after reports that the Government is planning to cut subsidies The future of large-scale solar farms may be in doubt after reports that the Government is planning to cut subsidies

The future of large-scale solar farms may be in doubt after reports that the Government is planning to cut subsidies.

Several large solar farms are planned in the Seend area, with an appeal due to take place against Wiltshire Council’s decision to vote against the 80-hectare site on Sandridge Hill, near Melksham, on April 16.

Sandridge Solar Power says the solar farm would have the capacity to generate enough electricity for about 11,400 average UK households - more than all of the properties in nearby Melksham. It claims it would save up to 504,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the 25-year lifetime of the project.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) is expected to review the levels of support for solar farms, which can be controversial because of their visual impact on the countryside.

The move follows the announcement that the Tories would scrap subsidies for onshore wind farms if elected in 2015.

But the industry warned that drastic changes to policy could cause job losses and damage investor confidence across the renewables sector.

A report has been published by industry body the Renewable Energy Association (REA) which revealed that the renewables sector had attracted nearly £30billion in investment since 2010, and supported more than 103,000 jobs.

But around 10,000 jobs were lost when there were significant cuts to small-scale solar subsidies known as "feed-in tariffs" in 2011/12, the report said.

A separate report from the UK Energy Research Centre, also newly published, warned that uncertainty over Government policy could damage ambitions to cut emissions and make energy less affordable, secure and sustainable in the long-term.

REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: "Our report shows that where policies are clear and stable, our industry can attract investment, create jobs, and increase UK green energy.

"We've seen this in renewable electricity and we're beginning to see it in renewable heat too.

"We also emphasise though that drastic changes to policy - to which solar power is no stranger - can lead to job losses and damage investor confidence across the renewables industry.

"We urge Decc to tread very carefully if it does indeed plan to review the support mechanisms for large scale solar.

"This sector is creating jobs and bringing down costs rapidly."

Nick Boyle, chief executive of solar power developers Lightsource Renewable Energy said: "Solar installations are an asset to Britain and should be held up as a beacon of home grown electricity generation, but constant tariff cuts and government pressure act to undermine the work we do to provide clean, secure energy and put into serious question the very momentum we have worked so hard to build.

"Solar is adding genuine new electricity generation to the UK, something the government can ill afford to ignore."

A Decc spokeswoman said: "We're very clear that Government support for solar PV has to deliver the best value for money to consumers.

"As technologies mature and costs of generation come down, those savings have to be passed on to bill payers.

"We will consult on any changes to current levels of support to solar PV.

"Our ultimate goal is for renewables to be competitive with other forms of electricity generation."

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Alasdair Cameron said: "Yet another badly-handled review could spook investors and bring uncertainty to Britain's solar sector.

"Solar power is hugely popular and is on course to be one of our cheapest forms of energy, but it needs robust and predictable support to enable it to thrive and further reduce its costs.

"While the benefits of rooftop solar are clear - particularly on schools and other public buildings - large-scale ground-mounted panels have an important role to play and present excellent value for money.

"In the right place, and with the right measures, solar farms can benefit nature, as well as providing cheap, low-carbon energy."

Comments (8)

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10:46pm Wed 30 Apr 14

WiltshireGlory says...

Good - these people should get their noses out of all our back pockets and go and get themselves a proper job. Bring on the cuts!
Good - these people should get their noses out of all our back pockets and go and get themselves a proper job. Bring on the cuts! WiltshireGlory
  • Score: -2

9:22am Thu 1 May 14

the optimist says...

Subsidies for commercial solar farms were always a lot less than for private installations anyway which made them less reliant on those government subsidies? Its a shame as communities could lose massive amounts of benefits that were on offer if this goes through?

Thankfully, wind farms are being given a second chance in Wiltshire?
Subsidies for commercial solar farms were always a lot less than for private installations anyway which made them less reliant on those government subsidies? Its a shame as communities could lose massive amounts of benefits that were on offer if this goes through? Thankfully, wind farms are being given a second chance in Wiltshire? the optimist
  • Score: 3

6:25pm Thu 1 May 14

shed says...

the optimist wrote:
Subsidies for commercial solar farms were always a lot less than for private installations anyway which made them less reliant on those government subsidies? Its a shame as communities could lose massive amounts of benefits that were on offer if this goes through?

Thankfully, wind farms are being given a second chance in Wiltshire?
As long as the wind farms are next to your house that's fine by me.
[quote][p][bold]the optimist[/bold] wrote: Subsidies for commercial solar farms were always a lot less than for private installations anyway which made them less reliant on those government subsidies? Its a shame as communities could lose massive amounts of benefits that were on offer if this goes through? Thankfully, wind farms are being given a second chance in Wiltshire?[/p][/quote]As long as the wind farms are next to your house that's fine by me. shed
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Thu 1 May 14

the optimist says...

shed wrote:
the optimist wrote:
Subsidies for commercial solar farms were always a lot less than for private installations anyway which made them less reliant on those government subsidies? Its a shame as communities could lose massive amounts of benefits that were on offer if this goes through?

Thankfully, wind farms are being given a second chance in Wiltshire?
As long as the wind farms are next to your house that's fine by me.
I would be quite happy to look out over a few wind farms knowing that we are not polluting the planet with CO2 from oil, gas, coal and nuclear power stations.

I am thankfully, not one of the minority Nimby's that occupy Wiltshire?
[quote][p][bold]shed[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]the optimist[/bold] wrote: Subsidies for commercial solar farms were always a lot less than for private installations anyway which made them less reliant on those government subsidies? Its a shame as communities could lose massive amounts of benefits that were on offer if this goes through? Thankfully, wind farms are being given a second chance in Wiltshire?[/p][/quote]As long as the wind farms are next to your house that's fine by me.[/p][/quote]I would be quite happy to look out over a few wind farms knowing that we are not polluting the planet with CO2 from oil, gas, coal and nuclear power stations. I am thankfully, not one of the minority Nimby's that occupy Wiltshire? the optimist
  • Score: 3

10:33am Fri 2 May 14

shed says...

jolly good show optimist, meanwhile to provide your "green" energy we are importing wood chip from tress cut down in the USA, next year the Germans are building 2 new coal fired power stations, with coal imported from Australia the French are generating electricity with lots of nuclear power, god knows ow much co2 is pumped into the atmosphere by the Indians Chinese and Russians; the third world is being polluted by the fumes from all the old commercial vehicles we export to them,the Pacific ocean has islands of plastic waste the size of the IoW, world population is out of control but you will have saved the planet with a wind turbine that is made on the other side of the world, doesn't generate power when there is no wind and has to be turned off when the wind blows too hard, to say nowt about the Birds it kills.

well done mate.

Not in my back yard? not in my bleddy country thanks.

you are Nick Clagg and I claim my 5 euros
jolly good show optimist, meanwhile to provide your "green" energy we are importing wood chip from tress cut down in the USA, next year the Germans are building 2 new coal fired power stations, with coal imported from Australia the French are generating electricity with lots of nuclear power, god knows ow much co2 is pumped into the atmosphere by the Indians Chinese and Russians; the third world is being polluted by the fumes from all the old commercial vehicles we export to them,the Pacific ocean has islands of plastic waste the size of the IoW, world population is out of control but you will have saved the planet with a wind turbine that is made on the other side of the world, doesn't generate power when there is no wind and has to be turned off when the wind blows too hard, to say nowt about the Birds it kills. well done mate. Not in my back yard? not in my bleddy country thanks. you are Nick Clagg and I claim my 5 euros shed
  • Score: -2

10:35am Fri 2 May 14

shed says...

oops spolling errus.

minority? says who?
prove it
oops spolling errus. minority? says who? prove it shed
  • Score: -3

9:01pm Fri 2 May 14

moonraker77 says...

shed wrote:
oops spolling errus.

minority? says who?
prove it
Er............the article is actually about solar power.
[quote][p][bold]shed[/bold] wrote: oops spolling errus. minority? says who? prove it[/p][/quote]Er............the article is actually about solar power. moonraker77
  • Score: -4

10:12am Sat 3 May 14

shed says...

and I referred to his comment re windpower and his comment was referring to "nimbys in Wiltshire" ie alleging that anyone who differs with optimists outlook is a minority......

he specifically refers to wind farms., my comment applies to solar farms equally.

please keep up

Optimist can prove his assertion?
and I referred to his comment re windpower and his comment was referring to "nimbys in Wiltshire" ie alleging that anyone who differs with optimists outlook is a minority...... he specifically refers to wind farms., my comment applies to solar farms equally. please keep up Optimist can prove his assertion? shed
  • Score: 0

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