UK risks ‘derailing’ renewables growth due to export tariff uncertainty

The Solar Trade Association have today (August 30) published an open letter to Energy Minister Claire Perry calling on her to urgently confirm the continuation of the ‘export tariff’ from next April.

The export tariff is not a subsidy but a mechanism that works alongside the Feed-In-Tariff to ensure small solar generators are paid at a fair market rate, for the power they feed into the grid.

The letter has been signed by over 200 organisations, representing smart technologies, suppliers, academics, major NGOs, youth groups, city leaders, faith groups, farmers & landowners, as well as leading figures in the solar & battery storage industries.

STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett said: ‘The latest Government proposals for solar power are creating shockwaves well beyond the solar industry.

‘Nobody can fathom how Government can contemplate leaving households and small organisations as the only generators left unpaid for the valuable power they put into the electricity network.

‘We are asking the Energy Minister to act quickly and promise to maintain the export tariff & to uphold the basic rights of a market.’

The letter is published as the Government closes a consultation on what will come next following the end of new applications to the Feed-in-Tariff from next March.

A recent survey by Client Earth, one of the signatories to the letter, showed 62% of UK homes want to install solar & 60% want to install battery storage.

The letter warns that if the export tariff is removed next April, householders, SMEs, and others investing in solar & smart technologies will encounter ‘very nascent markets that currently lack regulatory foundations,’ which would mean their power could spill onto the grid for free, ‘effectively subsidising the commercial electricity sector.’

It adds that as the EU is enshrining in law the rights of self-generators to be fairly renumerated for their power, the UK risks ‘quickly losing its position as market leader in smart power, along with all the associated economic benefits and export opportunities.’

Earlier this month, Environment Journal published a report looking at what might come next for residential solar following the closure of the Feed-in-Tariff.

Leo Murray, Director of Strategy at 10:10 Climate Action said‘The Feed-in Tariff has been the most popular and successful British climate change policy ever implemented, empowering hundreds of thousands of citizens and communities to help tackle the defining challenge of our time.

‘Scrapping it with no form of replacement doesn’t just mean locking the public out of the renewables revolution, it risks derailing it altogether.’

Read the letter here.

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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