Angus MP backs solar ‘rescue plan’

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Angus MP Mike Weir has backed an emergency rescue plan for the British solar power industry in the face of proposed Westminster cuts.

The MP met solar industry representatives during a solar action day outside the House of Commons to promote the £1 plan, as a growing number of voices are calling on the Government to reconsider its plans to cut the Feed-in Tariff for solar energy by 87 per cent.

It is estimated that 35,000 people are employed in the solar industry and that many of these jobs could be at risk.

Mike Weir MP said: “The cuts put forward by the Government are too much too soon. The Government should instead consider this alternative proposal so that British households can continue to benefit from clean, green sunshine power.

“In Angus we can see that many homes and commercial buildings have invested in solar panels helping to tackle energy costs and also making a significant contribution to meeting our challenging Climate Change goals.

“That could be at risk from these proposals, along with a number of jobs in our local area.”

The Solar Trade Association’s ‘£1 solar rescue plan’ proposal has been designed to work for both the Government and solar businesses, allowing the industry to survive while giving the Government the cost control guarantees it needs.

The proposal involves slightly higher tariffs, higher and more flexible caps on the total amount of solar that can be deployed and an improved mechanism to continually bring support levels down.

The plan would only add an extra £1.06 on average household energy bills by 2019, demonstrating how affordable it would be to adopt steady reductions in support for solar power.

Three solar businesses, Mark Group, Climate Energy and Southern Solar, have already gone into administration over the last few weeks, citing government cuts as the cause and making over 1,200 people across the country redundant.

Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association said: “Cutting support for solar by up to 87 per cent is a false economy for consumers and UK plc. It will decimate the British solar industry, waste huge public support to date, and leave the UK behind the international tide of technology change.”