Solar subsidy cuts are a “coups d'état not a revolution” claim industry boss

The chairman of the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) has published details of a meeting between himself and Energy Secretary Amber Rudd about plans to cut the Feed-In-Tariff rates.

The details of the meeting between Reza Shaybani and Ms Rudd, which took place on 2 September in Whitehall have been published on the BPVA website and featured in the Guardian newspaper.

According to the minutes, Mr Shaybani reminded Ms Rudd of promises made earlier this year to unleash a solar revolution and added “forgive me this is more of a coups d'état not a revolution!”

Last month, the Department for Energy and Climate Change launched an eight-week public consultation into cutting the Feed-In-Tariff rates for solar energy and other renewables.

At present, a solar PV system less than 4kW with an eligibility date on or after 1 October 2015 qualifies for a rate of 12.47p A system between 4kW and 50kW also gets 11.30p.

The Government proposes two new bands, with solar PV systems between 0 and 10kW getting 1.63p and those between 10kW and 50kW getting 3.69p.

Mr Shaybani said he raised issues around the banding proposals for the new FIT structure and possible job losses in the solar sector.

“I also added on the FiT review that we would also like to see some sort of support for crowd funded projects,” he added. “Schools, local community projects and some public buildings may be funded by local people who will benefit from investing in solar. This was the backbone of the successful German solar industry. No support whatsoever has been shown for crowd funded projects.”

“I went on to say it seems to me you are assuming the solar industry consist of a bunch of lazy and greedy people who want to live on subsidies for ever!? We are not. We want to start life after subsidies but today is not that time. We are publishing our consumer magazine “Make Solar Sense” to start the journey for solar without subsidies. We will educate the public on the benefits of solar and why they should take control of their energy bills. The major difference here is the time scale mismatch and their numbers, which do not represent the reality of our industry.”

In response, a DECC told the Guardian: “This was a private meeting, of which no verbatim minutes or transcripts were taken. We do not recognise this document or the quotes it contains.” 

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues