Companies encouraged to respond to provide clear picture to inform policy
The STA and PwC have launched an online survey in order to assess the status of the UK solar industry after major changes to the policy framework for solar power in the UK. The confidential online survey is open to all solar companies based in the UK to respond to over the next two weeks. The results will be given to Ministers and published in a public report in early summer.
STA Head of External Affairs Leonie Greene said;
"Solar has had the great majority of its support removed very rapidly in the UK, and just when it had parity with fossil fuels within sight. At the STA we know many solar companies are having a difficult time and indeed some have been lost, and with them some highly skilled people. However, it is important that we systematically quantify what the impact of these policy changes has been in order to provide a really clear & accurate picture. A comprehensive survey is essential for an informed discussion with Government and Parliament and there will be strong interest in how the industry is faring. Partnering up with PwC means we can ensure the high quality analysis this important industry deserves."
The Renewables Obligation has ended early for the solar industry, and no future auction rounds under Contracts-for-Difference are anticipated. Deployment in domestic solar has dropped 80% for domestic solar under the Feed-In Tariff compared to deployment last year. Commercial solar roofs deployment under FITs is capped at 15MW per quarter and there is uncertainty about the extent to which Corporate Social Responsibility concerns will sustain investment in the short term. While the Government also dropped Zero Carbon Homes, moves by the Scottish Government to improve new build standards are creating opportunities and it appears that the new London Mayor will also move to support solar deployment across the capital.
John Dashwood, Head of Renewables, Assurance at PwC said;
"The solar industry is exceptionally innovative and adaptable. However, it is undoubtedly facing some serious challenges in the UK. Now is therefore an important time to assess what the current challenges and uncertainty have had on UK solar business health today and in confidence going forward. How authoritative our report is will depend on how many companies respond - so we urge companies to please do so."
As part of the new survey the STA will be making contact with the 200 companies who responded to a previous survey at the end of last year in order to assess what has happened to their businesses.
The survey is confidential and all responses will be anonymised. The survey is available at: http://www.solar-trade.org.uk/pwc-and-sta-survey/