UK policy reversals hit home as clean-energy firms crash

UK policy changes to renewables support began to bite today with high-profile clean-energy businesses entering administration.

Mark Group, a major PV module installer and energy efficiency group, laid off almost 1,000 workers as the impact of negative policy changes rippled across the Atlantic and back to its base in the English Midlands.

Mark Group’s solar division was acquired earlier this year by SunEdison, the US renewables giant which planned to use it as a springboard into what seemed like a vibrant UK PV market.

But support cuts under the new Conservative government changed the picture, and SunEdison – which is reviewing and cutting its global operations to focus only on the most promising growth markets – sold the UK business back to its management, which put it into administration.

SunEdison was quoted by campaigning group Greenpeace as blaming “draconian policy proposals” that will “effectively eliminate the solar PV market in the UK”.

Climate Energy, a major provider of energy-efficiency services, also entered administration yesterday.

The policy changes, which have swept across the onshore wind, solar and energy efficiency markets in the UK, have led to the country plunging down the international investment league for renewables, and left previous pledges by Prime Minster David Cameron to lead Britain's "greenest ever government" looking hollow.

Greenpeace UK chief scientist Doug Parr said: "This should be a wake-up call for David Cameron, who faces international embarrassment ahead of crucial climate talks."