The UK’s new Secretary of State for energy and climate change, Amber Rudd, has spoke of her desire to increase the deployment of solar PV under her watch.
Speaking to a local paper in her constituency, Amber Rudd told The Hastings Observer that she was “honoured” to land the top role at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Rudd was previously a climate change minister at DECC.
Commenting on her focus in the new role, Rudd said: “I want to unleash a new solar revolution – we have a million people living under roofs with solar panels and that number needs to increase.”
Rudd is referring to the number of households who have installed solar PV under the feed-in tariff scheme. The previous Coalition government had made it clear in its national Solar Strategy that it wants to focus solar PV deployment on rooftops, following the perception that ground-mount solar farms were becoming increasingly unpopular with the public.
However, there is increasing speculation that the new Secretary of State will be facing a funding crisis as the drop in wholesale energy has meant that DECC’s liabilities for previous subsidy schemes has risen and consumed the majority of the budget set aside for renewable support. In addition, DECC is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the feed-in tariff scheme.
Rudd’s comments are not the first time a Conservative minister has talked up solar PV technology in the UK. Former energy minister, Greg Barker told the industry in July 2014 that the government would put “rocket-boosters” underneath the commercial rooftop sector in order to boost deployment. However, the minister’s promise has taken a long time to materialise with the government only recently raising the threshold for rooftop solar without requiring full planning permission to 1MW and rubberstamping ‘lift and shift’ proposals to enable businesses to move a PV array and its related FiT registration to a new property.