Commons’ Committee members urged to review planned cuts in consumer payments.

Members of Parliament should hold an immediate inquiry into proposed UK government cuts to the solar PV Feed-In-Tariff (FiT) scheme – a move that could cost thousands of jobs across Wales, says the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA).

The move comes after recent consultation from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), signaled a massive reduction (around 87%) to the domestic Feed-In-Tariff solar PV scheme at the end of 2015, while also referring to the possibility of removing FiTs entirely.

The ECA has written to members of both the Commons’ Energy & Climate Change Committee and the Environmental Audit Committees, urging them to review DECC’s proposals, which would cut ongoing support for new solar PV customers.

The FiT has been regarded as a resounding success in encouraging consumers to install solar PV, with thousands of rooftop units installed in Wales since the scheme was launched. The incentive has helped move large parts of the community towards using renewable energy, reducing Wales’ carbon footprint in the process.

Figures from the UK solar PV sector suggest that it supports up to 2,500 jobs in Wales. A recent study of ECA member-firms also found the bulk of those affected by DECC’s plans are small companies typically carrying out between 10 and 50 installations a year.

A sudden, significant drop in FiTs would cause major job losses in these firms in 2016, and could fold businesses. ECA’s letter to MPs says that DECC has not properly considered lost employment and tax revenue in its cost calculations. 

According to ECA Wales spokesperson and President-Elect Dave Kieft:

“The solar PV sector supports thousands of jobs in and around Wales. It is a vital part of providing a flexible renewable energy future for Wales, as well as helping us to reduce our carbon emissions. We urge the government not to pull the plug on solar PV, and rethink these hasty and potentially damaging proposals”.

Kieft added: “The solar PV sector could adapt to a slow but steady reduction in the Feed-In-Tariff over the next five years, but the DECC proposals could send the sector over a cliff in 2016. With the right level of FiTs, solar PV could be highly competitive with many types of fossil-fuels by 2020, which would be a massive achievement. But right now jobs, and a solar energy future, are at serious risk.

The DECC consultation runs until Friday 23 October.