Claire Perry, Minster for Energy and Clean Growth, clarified the UK Government’s position on solar power yesterday (Tuesday 20th November), responding to questions in the House of Commons by stating that solar power should not be exported to the national grid for free.
The government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) is to be withdrawn in April next year. While admitting that the FiT has been a huge success, supporting more than 800,000 installations across the country, the government is concerned about the cost - £4.5 billion thus far with an expected cost of £2 billion per year for the next ten years. Responding to a question from Kevin Hollinrake MP, Ms Perry said that it is right that the government should consider a new incentive scheme, given that the cost of solar has fallen dramatically, although solar power should not be provided to the grid for free.
Ms Perry’s statement was welcomed by the Solar Trade Association (STA) which has pushed the government for fair treatment for solar through the #Fair4Solar export tariff campaign. The STA described Perry’s response as a ‘significant breakthrough’.
“We are delighted that Claire Perry has now stated clearly that future small solar generators should receive payment for their exported electricity” said STA Chief Executive, Chris Hewett. “STA had sent her a letter signed by over 350 organisations from across the solar, battery, electricity supplier industries and civil society seeking just such an assurance. As ever the devil is in the detail, so we now need to see the proposals and make sure they are in place from April 2019, but this is a good day for solar installers and prospective rooftop solar owners.”
The STA has spearheaded a vigorous campaign to bring the issue to the attention of the Minister since the proposal to end the export tariff was revealed. The #Fair4Solar campaign is supported by a coalition of stakeholder organisations including the NFU, Church of England, WWF-UK, 10:10 Climate Action, Community Energy England, the UKYCC and the ECA.