The self-styled "greenest government ever" has cut feed-in-tariffs for solar power by half, doubling the length of time it will take homeowners to receive payback and risking thousands of jobs in a growing industry in manufacturing and installing solar panels.
When David Cameron came to the Greenpeace office in 2007 he spoke about his commitment to solar power micro generation. He supported the feed-in-tariff stating, "In Germany, a feed-in tariff has led to far faster growth in the renewable energy sector and there is absolutely no reason why this can't be done here".
Yesterday morning the Conservatives had a slightly different message. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker announced plans to cut the feed-in-tariff by half, from 43p per kilowatt-hour to 21p. This means that for an installation of £10,000 to pay for itself would take 18 years, rather than 10, significantly reducing the financial incentive for both homeowners and companies.
The feed-in-tariff works by allowing homeowners and companies to sell excess power generated back into the national grid. In many instances companies have provided installation for free to homeowners, providing free electricity whilst collecting the feed-in-tariff as payment.
In the last year more than 20,000 jobs have been created in the solar industry. The cut in the feed-in-tariff puts this growing industry at serious risk and undermines the UK's commitment to renewable energy put forward by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne just last week.
Energy campaigner Louise Hutchins said, "Whilst solar tariffs should be reviewed as costs come down, the Treasury's restrictions mean that mass-market renewables are being managed to fail, taking the industry with it. It doesn't make sense and sells Britain short".