The Solar Trade Association (STA) has voiced its disappointment at another lost opportunity to back solar in the final budget before Britain is due to leave the EU, in March.
A low-key budget set by Chancellor Philip Hammond was most notable for income tax cuts, and featured no substantial changes to the current regime for UK solar. The sector is dogged by uncertainty as it awaits the results of the government’s consultation on whether to halt export payments for energy fed into the grid by small scale renewable generators.
In a statement that could so easily have been drafted far in advance of the latest budget statement, STA chief executive Chris Hewett said: “Investment in renewable energy has plummeted in the UK, and largely for want of fair tax and market treatment. The chancellor has again missed a vital opportunity to do the right thing, not only by the planet and the thousands of people who want to support clean energy, but by simple fair market principles.
Clean energy rhetoric is empty
“This government claims to support clean, green technologies, but this rhetoric is far from being matched by even the most modest of actions. Solar is the biggest clean energy market in the world today, and by putting obstacles in the path of this technology, the government is frustrating the urgent energy transition and putting British industries at a disadvantage in global clean energy markets.”
The STA and other lobbyists have long pressed for tweaks to the tax regime, to remove or reduce income tax and business rates on income from solar systems and by including such installations in annual investment allowances qualifying for tax relief.