Cameron defends UK solar stance

UK Prime Minister David Cameron insisted solar has a big part to play in the UK’s renewable mix, despite industry protests that support changes could stop the sector in its tracks.

Cameron said the ability to rapidly deploy solar has “created a significant opportunity for growth in the sector and the wider economy”, adding that PV “has the potential to play a valuable part of the UK’s renewable energy mix”.

The UK leader also reiterated the government’s commitment to shift development towards commercial rooftops and away from large ground-mounted arrays.

Cameron was responding to a letter from 150 UK solar businesses warning that current policy plans risk bringing the UK’s startling PV growth to a halt.

Their concerns include plans to withdraw Renewables Obligation (RO) support for arrays above 5MW after next April, putting new projects in a contest with other generators such as onshore wind.

The industry letter also claimed the government had no clear pathway to a large-scale roll-out of commercial rooftop solar.

Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the UK’s Solar Trade Association said: “Here is what we can do to work together – make absolutely sure that Contracts for Difference will work for solar, retain but review the existing RO to ensure we don't lose the level playing field for solar, and fix the Feed in Tariff for large roofs as soon as possible.”

“The solar industry has done its bit to lay the foundations for the successful future of UK solar. But we can’t start building the house if the architect keeps changing the designs. Solar can become subsidy-free next Parliament, but only if government provides a level playing field and stable policy.”

The UK government is consulting over the plans, with a final decision due soon.