UK subsidies go to fossil fuels as rooftop solar installations decline

Published: 26 Jun 2018 By Grace Kimberley

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Subsidy cuts to rooftop solar and the frequent banning of new wind turbines have caused consumer investment in renewable energy to remain at an all-time low this year, says Community Energy England (CEE).

In 2017, only one new renewable group was formed in the UK and the number of consumers installing solar panels has “flatlined” as a result.

CEE’s 2018 State of the Sector report says the element of risk involved with new projects is also a contributing factor, due to the upfront costs involved with constructing solar panels and wind turbines.

After these investments were made, 30% of community energy group schemes failed last year.

“There is a clear link between recent subsidy changes and an increasing number of failed or stalled community projects,” said CEE’s chief executive, Emma Bridge.

“If the government is serious about creating a new renewable energy industry to meet the nation’s power needs it has got to embrace the community energy sector and restore the modest support that it needs to thrive.”

Community energy groups were on the up until 2015, with 30 new groups entering the market per year. This figure dropped to 1 in 2017, suggesting many consumers and businesses are “abandoning” the sector.

“The government’s pennywise but pound-foolish approach will only cost the economy in the long run. Getting our power from fossil fuels makes it overly expensive to keep the lights on and failure to support clean energy will drive technological innovation and job creation in this sector abroad.” Says Emily Rochon, an energy lawyer at ClientEarth.

“Other countries have recognised that community-owned renewable energy delivers greater economic, social and environmental benefits and will reap the rewards as a result. The UK, on the other hand, will miss the opportunity.”

 

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