UK labour leader challenges solar cuts

04. July 2011 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Stuart

Leader of the UK’s opposition party, Ed Miliband, has challenged the government’s decision to slash the country’s photovoltaic feed-in tariffs (FITs) for systems over 50 kilowatts in size.

Ed Miliband Labour Party UK standing in a field with corn and wind turbines

Ed Miliband seems to be on the renewable energy bandwagon. Image: Flickr/bisgovuk.

On June 30, the Labour Party leader tabled a motion asking that "the Draft Modifications to the Standard Conditions of Electricity Supply Licences (...) be not approved."

As of yet, Miliband’s motion has been supported by four other Labour Party members.

The government announced the results of its fast-track review on June 9. After nearly four months of investigation, it concluded that large-scale photovoltaic installations would include any systems larger than 50 kilowatts (kW). It also slashed tariffs for "large" systems by around 70 percent.

Hitting back, Shadow Energy Minister and supporter of the motion, Huw Irranca-Davis, accused the government of betraying its promise to be "the greenest government ever".

According to a statement released, Friends of the Earth, the Farmer’s Union and the solar industry as a whole have welcomed Miliband’s move.

Friends of the Earth's green energy campaigner Donna Hume said: "The feed-in tariff scheme has been a big success in encouraging people to install solar electricity systems - drastic cuts are bad news for businesses and communities who will miss out on cheaper bills.

"The Coalition says green growth is crucial to our economy - instead of short-term cost-cutting it should support a home-grown solar power revolution and create new jobs and businesses."

STA chairman Howard Johns added that the FIT outcome needs "proper parliamentary debate".

Labour's Energy spokesperson Baroness Smith is also set to challenge the cuts in the House of Lords.

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