UK: Loss of solar jobs due to subsidy cuts
A detailed survey by PwC and the British Solar Trade Association (STA) found that the UK’s solar industry is in desperate need of stability following the government’s subsidy cuts, which caused the loss of over 12,000 solar jobs in the past year. Tax abatement could help boost the sector tremendously, researchers reckon.
After the Brexit, the future of the UK’s solar sector looks somewhat uncertain. But as a matter of fact, the situation was not that different before the EU referendum. As a recent report by PwC and STA states, the UK’s solar sector is struggling mainly due to subsidy cuts imposed by the Conservative government. For their detailed research, PwC authors interviewed 238 solar companies across the UK, making up for 10 % of the industry. They found that due to the cuts 4 out of ten 10 companies were forced to expand their business to other sectors or even leave the solar market completely. This way, more than 12,000 solar power jobs were lost – a third of the UK solar job sector.
Decrease of new PV installations
Furthermore, new construction of solar panels will most likely decrease this year from 1 GW to 300 MW in the UK. That is 75% less than in the past five years. The STA has criticised the government’s lack of strategy for the UK’s solar industry. The government assigned no more than 1 % of subsidies to renewable energy and grid-feed-in of solar energy.
Leonie Greene, a spokeswoman for the STA, said: “The survey shows very regrettable damage to the fabric of the British solar industry and the need for prompt government action.”
The trade body blames cuts made since the Tory government took power last May, including a 65% reduction in payments for householders considering solar on their rooftop. Installations plummeted in February and March after the cuts took effect.
A chance for change with tax reward system
Now, with a new government taking over, it would be a good time to remedy the mistakes of the past. Rewarding investment in solar through the tax system is the policy change that could really boost the struggling sector. 56% of the interviewed solar businesses think this would be the best solution to help secure and grow their business, the report states.
PwC, Solarserver, The Times, The Guardian