UK's FIT cuts threaten 20,000 solar jobs


More than 20,000 jobs could be lost from the U.K.’s solar industry following the introduction next year of the proposed new feed-in tariff (FIT) rates, according to a study commissioned by the very same government department responsible for the cuts.

The findings of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) study commissioned last year revealed that every MW of solar power installed on domestic rooftops supported 20 jobs in the U.K. solar industry.

However, environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth have said that the reduced FIT rates – which represent an 87% cut for residential systems below 4 kW (falling from 12.47p per kilowatt hour to just 1.63p/kWh on January 1, 2016) – will mean a shortfall of 1.1 GW of new solar PV capacity each year to 2021.

This adds up to 22,000 jobs lost or not created, which serves to underline DECC’s previous claim that the solar industry has been able to support jobs and economic growth over the past few years – a period that included a recession.

"The government’s idealogically driven war on solar threatens tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses across the U.K.," said Friends of the Earth campaigner Alaisdair Cameron. "Renewable energy has been one of the U.K.’s few economic bright spots.

"Pulling the plug on an industry that could shortly provide Britain with one of its cheapest and cleanest forms of energy is massive wasted investment."