The Conservative government recently announced that it would be making cuts to the subsidies it gives to property owners who install solar panels. The move comes even after studies commissioned by the government showed that thousands of jobs would be affected by the cuts. With over 1.5% of UK homes having installed solar panels, the government argues that the cuts are necessary to protect consumers and ease rising energy prices. Subsidies to small-scale and large projects have also been cut and the industry now faces an uncertain future
In the months since the announcement of cuts in solar subsides, an estimated 18 000 jobs are now at risk, installation figures have plummeted, and some companies are facing imminent closure. Renewable energy supporters have reacted with dismay at the proposed cuts, highlighting the challenges that the UK solar industry will have to face in the coming years.
Solar Energy Subsidy Cuts set to Impact Industry
Opponents of the solar subsidy cuts point to the slowdown in domestic panel installations since the government’s decision, as well as a number of high profile installers that have either shut down or face closure due to funding drying up. Those in the renewable energy sector feel that the government is misguided in cutting funding for one of the cheapest available energy sources whose popularity and use had risen thanks in part to the financial incentives provided by the authorities.
A cut in subsidies threatens the viability of installation companies and the increased costs of fitting panels will put off both private and commercial property owners. As the industry was experiencing growth, these latest developments mean that the solar industry must now mature and face up to the challenges ahead.
Bullish Outlook Remains
Despite the gloom brought about by the subsidy cuts, many in the solar industry remain bullish about solar deployment levels and the health of the sector as a whole. There are many reasons to support this positive outlook; chief of which is a general enthusiasm for greener energy sources and sustainability. While some jobs will be lost as the industry adapts to the new changes, the Solar Trade Association believes that in the long run falling costs and rising demand will help to see off the cuts in government funding.
For the solar industry, and those that support renewable and sustainable energy solutions, the subsidy cuts are unfortunate, but the hope is that the sector will be able to weather the storm. As the public becomes more conscious of environmental issues no doubt the future of solar will remain bright.