There were more protests happening in the UK last week, but this one was to do with the solar panel industry. The government’s planned cuts to the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) has been met with mixed responses, but the solar panel firms of Cheshire have come together to protest against the proposal.
The government is planning to cut the FIT by 22.3p per kilowatt hour, meaning you will only receive 21p for each kilowatt hour you generate for the National Grid. The government consultations are ongoing until 23rd December when a final decision will be made on the cuts.
Solar companies in South Cheshire rallied together outside the office of Crewe and Nantworth Tory MP Edward Timpson, in an attempt to persuade the government to limit the tariff cut. The protest was organised by The Green Electrician, in Wardle, which has over 70 employees and will be hit hard by the changes.
Their managing director agreed that cuts to the tariff were needed, but was disappointed with a lack of transparency from the government and the way they have handled the changes. He claims up to 80 of companies in the solar sector will disappear over the next 6 months.
However, it is not just these changes that have upset the solar community of Cheshire. There are also plans to introduce a criteria that houses will have to meet to benefit from the FIT, which some people believe will reduce the eligibility of properties by more than 80.
Although the local companies are unhappy with the changes, the government is trying to help keep people in jobs. It is creating 100 jobs in Stoke-on-Trent for all those whose job is at risk, people such as roofers, electricians, storage workers, delivery drivers, scaffolders, customer liaison officers and team leaders. Hopefully this will help keep the industry alive and kicking despite these changes. E.ON and Kier Stoke are part of this deal which will see 4,000 solar panels installed onto council houses in parts of Chell Heath, Fegg Hayes and Blurton.
What do you think of the Feed-in-Tariff changes? What effects do you think it will have and do you think the solar industry will be as strong as before? Share your thoughts with us using the comment panel below.