Is sun to set on solar power? Leaked document reveals government is planning 50% cuts to subsidies
- Energy Savings Trust 'accidentally' publish report
- Cuts could cost 25,000 jobs
By Daniel Miller
Last updated at 1:16 PM on 29th October 2011
Homeowners who fitted solar panels will soon be left out of pocket according to a leaked document which reveals the government is planning to slash the amount of money it pays for generating renewable energy.
In an embarrassing slip-up, the Energy Savings Trust charity accidentally published confidential details of proposals to cut renewable energy payments by more than 50 per cent.
It would mean the amount the average household receives for generating solar energy would fall from £1,190 to £640.
Cuts: Homeowners with solar roof panels will see the amount of money they are paid by the government slashed by 50 per cent according to a leaked document
Government energy ministers are expected to announce the cuts in Parliament on Monday.
Climate change minister Greg barker said tariffs need to reflect the falling cost of solar technology
According to the leaked document the new tariffs could be brought in as early as December 8 and would see payments fall from the current 43.3p per kilowatt hour to just 21p for surplus electricity fed back into the national grid.
The Energy Savings Trust quickly withdrew the document but not before the news had spread causing widespread concern amongst homeowners and companies which install solar panels.
A spokesman for the charity said: 'We’ve been working on a draft consumer guidance document in relation to the Fast Track Review of Feed in Tariffs for Solar PV to pre-empt the Government consultation which is expected next week.
'Preparing advice on a potential announcement was the responsible thing to do as the leading consumer advice body in this area. Unfortunately, due to a technical error this document was made available for search.'
Industry experts believe that if the new tariffs are introduced it could put dozens of firms out of business and cost as many as 25,000 jobs.
They also point out it will effectively discourage people from adopting solar and other renewable energy technologies.
Homeowners with cash to spare can pay for solar equipment themselves and receive up to £1,000 a year from the government subsidy and electricity savings.
Those unable to cover the cost of the equipment upfront can sign up with solar technology firms and effectively rent out their rooftops so the companies pay for the panels and the benefits are split.
Solar businesses are now calling on energy ministers to reconsider Monday's scheduled announcement, in which they are expected to confirm the leak.
Slip up: The document was leaked after a 'technical error' on the Energy Savings Trust website
Shaun Taylor, managing director of Buckinghamshire-based SolarTech, posted on the ClickGreen website: 'If this leak proves accurate then the Government will be condemning tens of thousands of residents in social housing to continued fuel poverty as there is no way that 'free PV' schemes will now be financially viable.
'The impact on employment will also be enormous as the industry had forecast 20,000 to 30,000 jobs would be created in this sector.
'If the Government's plan was to add to unemployment, close businesses, leave thousands in fuel poverty and miss our European Carbon Reduction Targets then job done! Let’s hope that this leak doesn’t turn out to be accurate and drown the industry.'
This morning ClickGreen launched a 'Save-Our-Solar' campaign in response to the leak and received over 500 messages of support in the first two hours.