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UK PV support closing

The Stream 2 support for photovoltaics (PV) under the UK Low carbon Building Programme (LCBP) is due to close, causing concern in the renewable energy industry.

The announcement that the funding stream for solar power had run out, came less than a week after the UK Government laid out its plans for a low-carbon revolution. No applications made since 26 February is permissible, and the whole stream is to end in June, the UK Renewable Energy Association (REA) reports.

In December last year an extra £7 million was allocated to the PV stream of the Low carbon Building Programme to tide it over until the programme closed. However this funding had all been allocated by the 26 February 2009.

A further £12-15m still remains in the Low carbon Building Programme budget and at the present rate of spend it is predicted that £8m will remain unspent by the end of the programme, according to REA. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have said that Phase 2 will not be extended and any remaining funds will be sent back to the Treasury.

The REA recommends the immediate reallocation of remaining funds on a first come, first served basis so all microgeneration technologies can gain maximum benefit. The association says it brought the problem to the attention of DECC in early February, and has expressed surprised that nothing had been done to prevent the PV funding running dry.

In a statement, REA says: “The end of the Low carbon Building Programme will leave many REA members left in limbo with no funding as the recession bites.”

The REA is calling for Government to urgently respond to the following concerns:

  • Status of the Low carbon Building Programme. The REA has proposed that the programme could be pumped up to be used as a springboard for the implementation of tariffs.
  • That projects being constructed in the coming year will be eligible for tariff support. The REA is calling for the UK Government to confirm that renewables projects built between now and the onset of tariffs will be eligible for tariff support.
  • Bring forward the tariffs. It is imperative that the tariffs are implemented as soon as possible and that the renewable electricity and heat tariffs are introduced together by 2010 at the latest.

“Otherwise the industry is looking at a serious funding gap and contraction as some firms are unable to stay afloat,” REA warns.

Philip Wolfe, REA’s Director General says: "This latest disaster in the Low Carbon buildings Programme is completely at odds with the Green New Deal we hear so much about. We are talking about relatively small sums to support UK manufacturing, technological innovation and local jobs. This is an industry with a very bright future and a key contributor to the low carbon future we are aiming for.”

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Green building  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity