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Comment: Is the UK Government turning its back on renewable in favour of nuclear?

By IMS Research, edited by Renewable Energy Focus staff

Following recent proposals from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to dramatically reduce the tariff paid to those with solar PV (photovoltaic) energy schemes generating more than 50 kW, power experts at IMS Research are questioning the viability and future of solar energy in the UK.

Reducing the tariff for solar energy schemes such as the roof of commercial premises, which could generate 50-1000 kW while solar PV panels on a typical house roof generate just 3-4 kW, means that future industrial applications of solar power may be ruled out in the UK if the Government’s proposal is approved.

Experts at IMS Research also believe the fact that larger scale applications – which often drive economies in a market – are unlikely to be developed, means that installation prices for solar PV energy schemes are likely to remain high. The Government has also recently cancelled installation of its own solar PV power scheme.

Ash Sharma, Research Director for IMS Research’s Power & Energy Group believes it reveals the Government’s true agenda: “Effectively making solar energy uneconomic for commercial organisations demonstrates the Government’s lack of commitment to renewable sources. It also has an implication for the management of public buildings, such as hospitals and schools, for whom solar power will no longer be financially viable.

“Limiting solar power to small scale installations means the sector will simply never take off, other than creating a niche industry. And while countries such as Japan, Italy, Germany, China and the U.S. have said that they will be giving greater financial support to solar power and already have substantial solar PV capacity in place, the UK government has taken the opposite approach, making it clear that nuclear energy is definitely part of the plan for power generation in the UK.”

There are also signs that the UK solar industry – one of the smallest markets globally – is in danger of losing valuable jobs, as the UK appears to turn its back on renewable energy.

This contrasts sharply with Germany’s market leading solar industry, where the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) says 83,000 jobs have been created in the solar industry.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets