10p to create a solar power sector in UK

| 29th September 2009
The Indian government plans to increase solar capacity from 3 to 200 gigawatts by 2050.

The UK lags badly behind the rest of Europe when it comes to uptake of renewables

A higher tariff for green electricity generation would help the UK catch up with the rest of Europe

An extra 10p on the level of the proposed tariff given to small-scale renewable energy producers would be enough to kick-start a solar power sector in the UK, say industry groups.

Earlier this summer the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) finally agreed to introduction of a long sought-after feed-in tariff (FIT) under which households and businesses will be paid an above-market rate for every unit of electricity they generate and feed back to the grid.

Feed-in tariffs have been identified as the key factor behind the success of solar energy in Germany. But UK campaigners for solar power worry that the planned Government tariff will be too low.

The campaign group We Support Solar, which includes Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and more than 270 MPs, says that increasing the tariff from around 30p per unit of electricity to around 40p would increase uptake six times over.

Now, construction groups, including the Federation of Master Builder (FMB) have predicted that the extra 10p on the proposed rates could result in 400,000 new solar PV installations on homes by 2014. The knock-on effect would be the creation of nearly 30,000 jobs in the solar power sector.

'There is a lot of talk about the "green economy". The construction industry have seen the huge potential of solar power. The feed-in-tariff is the chance to now drive investment in the sector,' said Seb Berry of solar installation company, Solar Century.

The UK lags badly behind in the solar power stakes compared to other EU countries, where financial incentives have been in place for a number of years.

While the German Government’s solar programme is seeing more than 130,000 homes being fitted with solar photo-voltaic technology each year, the British Government’s Low Carbon Buildings Programme grants system has helped just 1,720 home owners over the past three and a half years.

Useful links

We Support Solar
Solar Century

See also

More from this author


The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate now.