Will I have work after cuts to solar power?
Fergal McEntee fears for his job. A few months ago he was running a company installing solar panels in London.
But since the Government announced it wants to end support for solar, he’s not sure what the future holds.
“At the moment it’s absolutely dire,” says Fergal (pictured top) who employs 3 people. “We’ve had to close our offices because the lease was up and I don’t know what’s going to happen with the [proposed cut]. If it goes ahead it’s going to quash our business.”
About the feed-in tariff
The Government has just proposed huge cuts to the feed-in tariff (FiT) – the scheme that supports small-scale renewable energy.
The proposal suggests that the domestic FiT will be cut by 87%, decimating the rooftop solar industry in the UK.
What are the savings from solar power cuts?
The Government cuts are calculated to save each household around £6 a year. Fergal can’t believe how short-sighted this is.
“You’ve got an industry which is a success story, you’ve got employment across the UK, thousands of installations going in, you’ve got people being trained up – and they just want to save a bit of money. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Jobs in solar power
Fergal is not alone. Friends of the Earth has calculated that Government cuts to support for solar power jeopardise the jobs of 20,000 people.
Ed Gommon (pictured above) left his career in nursing to set up Liverpool Community Renewables.
This encourages people to invest in solar power for local buildings and, says Ed, is about making solar power accessible to the majority of people.
“If the Government implement what they are proposing I cannot see any future for Liverpool Community Renewables,” he says.
Michael Hajilou (pictured above) says he was encouraged to set up Renewables for Schools after several meetings with Whitehall officials.
“Encouraged by the Government's promise, we've been visiting schools, advising staff, teaching pupils and providing free information whenever we can,” says Michael.
Effects of solar power cuts
But, adds Michael, if the Government ends, or even significantly lowers support for solar power, “the entire renewables for schools movement is dead in the water.
“All of the projects which we have lined up over the coming months will go straight down the pan, because without the feed-in tariff, there is simply no way that a school will be able to afford a solar system any longer.”
While the rest of the world – from California to China - is busily reaping the benefits of power from the sun, Friends of the Earth believes that the Government is doing its best to pull the plug on Britain’s burgeoning solar industry.
Please join Fergal, Ed, Michael and others in asking our Government to save our solar industry.