STA asks Minister to help address malaise in the solar market
STA  asks DECC for delay to FIT reductions planned for 1st July
After carefully studying the deployment figures of solar PV, it is clear that the UK market has stalled since 1st April , when new energy efficiency criteria came into effect for the Feed-in Tariff (FIT). Total installed capacity for the past four weeks was 17MW , against a four-weekly average of 71MW over the past year.
The STA has written to DECC asking for a delay to the proposed July tariff cuts, and intends to meet with Energy Minister Greg Barker next week.
STA Chairman Alan Aldridge comments:
“The STA has been seeking to counter the public confusion around solar in a bid to reignite the market (the Feed-in Tariff offers a ROI today which is as good as when it was first launched), but this effort will take some time to translate into sales. There is no doubt that solar is in better shape now than last autumn, but we need the Government to allow the market to adjust to changing circumstances before introducing the next round of tariff cuts.”
There are several reasons why the PV market – which throughout March was showing signs of recovery under the 21p tariff – may have stalled since April. The introduction of the new energy efficiency criteria is definitely a factor, but there are other, more fundamental concerns impacting consumer confidence, including the UK’s slip back into recession.
The market stagnation comes in spring – a time when the solar market should be at its busiest. While the current tariffs offer good rates of return, there is deep concern that further cuts will add to negative consumer perception.
Alan Aldridge concludes:
“We are facing an unusual set of challenges right now and it is fundamentally a problem of confidence and perception. We need all champions of solar – in Government, industry and elsewhere – to help us get the message out that solar is still a great investment, particularly with energy bills on the rise again. But we also need Government to show real sensitivity to the current situation and work with us to create a stable and growing market.”
For further information or to request an interview, please contact:
STA Press Office: +44 (0)2079 810 856
Name: Leonie Greene
Title: Head of External Affairs, STA
Tel: +44 (0)7932 720 091
Notes to Editors
1. The Solar Trade Association (STA) represents companies working in solar thermal and solar power in the UK. Since 2011 the STA has been affiliated to the Renewable Energy Association. Established in 1978 as a not-for-profit trade association we represent a diverse membership across the solar power and solar heating industry. The STA works in conjunction with its members to achieve the right regulatory framework and incentives for solar to deliver an increasing contribution to the UK’s electricity and heating needs. We undertake policy development and provide expert advice and analysis to government departments, agencies, regulators, NGOs and other stakeholders. For more information, see: www.solar-trade.org.uk
2. DECC: ‘Weekly solar PV installation and capacity,’ 16th May 2012. Available at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/energy_stats/source/fits/fits.aspx
3. The precise figure, using the data linked above, is 17.4 MW. DECC notes that “the latest numbers are… likely to be revised upwards, as has been the case in previous weeks,” but the revision is unlikely to be significant.