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Solar PV industry uncertainty as grants pot runs out

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 December 2009 at 9:23 am

The solar industry faces another phase of uncertainty as the grants money to support installation of photovoltaic panels in public sector buildings and charities has run out again.

The Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2 grant pot was topped up with £35m earlier this year, of which £13m was earmarked for solar PV. Demand has been higher than expected, and this has gone, leaving the industry facing a gap until feed-in tariffs are introduced in April 2010. This is made worse as the feed-in tariff rates still haven't been announced, and aren't expected to be until January.

This does not affect grants for householders, which are paid from the low carbon buildings programme phase 1

This is not the first time grants have run out, and it creates great uncertainty for everyone involved in the solar industry. The large fluctuations in demand that result are rather like business planning on a roller coaster. While there's a great opportunity for a revolution in 'green jobs', companies won't to invest unless they have a stable environment to plan in.

So here at YouGen we support the Renewable Energy Association's call for bridging funding to take companies through to the introduction of the feed-in tariff in April next year. Ray Noble, PV adviser at REA said: "This development puts the on-site renewables industry in a very difficult position.  On the one hand it’s absolutely right that DECC and the Treasury re-examine the Tariff proposals which are too low. However, the PV industry now urgently needs bridging funds and clarity on the Tariff proposals.  It’s another fine mess for the UK PV industry.”

Photo by trochej

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