Council energy firm can “weather the storm” after FIT announcement

The commercial director at Public Power Solutions (PPS) has said he is confident they can “weather the storm” following this week’s news regarding the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) rates.

As previously reported, the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced wide-ranging changes to the FIT earlier this week, following a government consultation.

Under the changes, domestic tariffs for solar will be cut by 64% to 4.39p/kWh instead of the original proposal of cuts of up to 87% to 1.63p/kWh. 

The new tariffs will come into force from 8 February, and the deadline for projects to receive the current higher tariffs is now 15 January.

James Owen, Commercial Director at Public Power Solutions, which is owned by Swindon Borough Council, said: “While the cuts proposed are not as severe as the Government first proposed, today’s announcement is nevertheless bound to result in significant job losses and consolidation in the UK’s solar industry as well as through the supply chain, which is very disappointing.  

“At PPS we have extensive experience of working with community groups and know there is a strong appetite from ordinary people wanting to invest in local solar schemes, so we are particularly concerned that there is no dedicated support for community solar or social housing. These offer widespread benefits above and beyond the generation of renewable electricity.

“This year has been a very challenging time for the UK’s renewable energy industry. But, as a solar developer focusing uniquely on the public sector, PPS remains confident that we can weather the storm and look forward to being able to deliver utility-scale solar projects without subsidy in 2016 and beyond,” added Mr Owen.

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