A recent poll discovered that 70% of us would decide to make our homes more energy efficient with technologies such as solar if there was help from the Government to do so.
Since the slashing of Feed in Tariff subsidies back in 2016, a lot has been written and said about the negative impact this has had on the solar industry in the UK.
So if people want it, why aren’t the current Tory government trying to provide it?
According to the poll:
- 62% of people said they were happy to install solar.
- 60% said they would have an electricity storage device like a battery in their property.
- 70% said they would join a collective such as a community solar or wind project.
Nearly 70% of people also said that they would like to see the monopoly of the large utility companies weakened, allowing new suppliers who focus on clean energy to thrive.
Where Is The Government?
The Government seems more focused on large scale power schemes such as nuclear or off shore wind at the moment. Since tariffs were cut, home and community installations of solar have stalled dramatically even if we are still getting larger, commercial solar farms. The bad news is that any hope of accessing tariffs for solar will cease to altogether by early next year.
The poll results point to the undeniable fact that people are concerned about climate change and want to do their bit by having ecological technology installed. Solar panels have come down in price in recent years mainly because of the competition in the market place. Subsidies helped all that.
The Government’s lack of interest in solar, particularly on a domestic scale, is equally likely to have a huge impact on our ability to reach our climate change targets. According to MP Mary Creagh who is on the Environmental Audit Committee:
“Billions of pounds of investment is needed in clean energy, transport, heating and industry. But a dramatic fall in investment is threatening the government’s ability to meet legally binding climate change targets.”
In fairness to the current Government, they did include reducing subsidies for renewables in their manifesto, citing that they wanted to reduce the cost to the tax payer. But if the taxpayer is willing to pay, what is the problem?
The fact the Government seems to be totally out of sync with current opinion, however, doesn’t appear to matter. The recent walk back on the tidal lagoon project in Swansea is a fairly unequivocal sign that the UK, through its Government, has definitely taken a step back when it comes to new renewable projects and the clean energy agenda.
There has always been a suspicion that the Tories have never been terribly attached to renewable energy. It goes back to David Cameron letting slip that we need to ‘get rid of that green crap’ back in 2013. It was only an almost unholy alliance with the Liberal Democrats that enabled any form of subsidy to continue in the first place. Once the Conservatives managed to get a majority you could sense a serious cooling to the idea of solar and wind and the imminent withdrawal of support.
There’s also another problem the industry has to face, one that has largely gone unreported. New solar and wind farms will now have to pay to connect to the grid where before this was free. That’s under new policies by the Government which allow network companies to charge even before any project has been agreed and rubber stamped.
While Labour may have plans to be more renewable energy friendly if they get in power, their strategy is not entirely clear, aside from taking snipes at the current Government when it suits them. According to MP Rebecca Long-Bailey:
“It was the Tories’ recent reforms that allowed for these outrageous financial demands to be made, which will have serious repercussions right across the renewables sector and for the future of clean energy.”
Don’t expect much support to given to the solar or wind industries for the foreseeable future. While climate change may well be the biggest challenge mankind has ever faced, everyone seems focused on more ‘immediate’ issues such as Brexit. We can only hope that, sooner or later, someone gets into power that can see sense.
Find out more about solar here.