Solar panel tariff changes leave small businesses high and dry

Proposed changes to the benefits associated with solar panel energy will leave small businesses high and dry according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The proposed changes, which will more than halve the Feed-In-Tariff (FiT) that can be received for generating electricity through solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment, will apply to any solar PV installed after 12 December. More than three months earlier than previously planned.

The FSB claims that small businesses will lose out because they are unable to make the mass purchase of stock that big businesses can, which will allow them to install more panels before the deadline.

Commenting, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, John Walker, said:

“The Government’s ill-thought through policy has left small businesses high and dry – unable to stock up on equipment necessary to meet pre-agreed orders and benefit from the increased demand for solar PV ahead of the cuts to the FiT scheme. This is simply because big businesses have mass purchased ahead of the 12 December deadline. We have heard from members who are unable to buy the equipment they need, so they either have to go without, or in some cases pay extortionate prices and are now unable to meet pre-arranged orders.

“The Government should be building on public appetite for renewable energy, and maintain certainty in the market that allows firms and consumers to plan ahead. The constant tinkering with the FiT scheme has undermined investor confidence across the green energy sector. Small firms in the green economy now lack the confidence to plan for the future. It is essential that Government does not make the same mistakes with the forthcoming rollout of its flagship Green Deal energy efficiency initiative.”

The FSB is calling on the Government to commit to pre-agreed framework for future adjustments to the FiT scheme to maintain certainty in the market, and allow more time for planning.

Friends of the Earth has since threatened legal action against the Government, unless it alters the plans, claiming that the new cut-off point is unlawful and will lead to unfinished or planned projects being abandoned.