Reports: UK set to slash post-2015 support for large-scale solar

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The UK government is to announce “dramatic” cuts today in support for both solar and onshore wind, according to the BBC.

The BBC reports that the government will revise the draft strike prices published in June downwards for both solar and onshore wind, whilst raising support for offshore wind.

Currently, the strike prices set under the contracts for difference (CfD) mechanism will offer solar developers £125/MWh from 2014-2016.

The move follows intense political pressure over escalating energy bills and David Cameron's consequent pledge to “roll back green levies“.

One quoted source in the BBC report calls it the “beginning of the end for mature renewables”. Yesterday, Utility Week magazine reported that energy minister Michael Fallon called for an end to all subsidies for “mature” renewables, such as onshore windfarms and large-scale solar farms. Fallon also told the Environmental Audit Committee that the coalition government was scrutinising all green levies despite the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s move reassurance the industry that renewable support is not being reviewed.

Reacting to the news, Leonie Greene, head of external affairs for the UK Solar Trade Association took to twitter to comment:

“The strike price announcements are being spun as cuts to wind & solar. All expected. Unless nasty surprises, ok with sharper cuts post 2015.”

Meanwhile, Howard Johns, managing director of Southern Solar stated: “The negative anti green onslaught continues”

Speaking to PV Tech's sister site, Solar Power Portal, Ray Noble, co-chair of the DECC Solar Strategy Task Force and PV specialist at the STA, said: “It looks like the reported changes only relate to strike price and they are not changing ROCs which gives the industry to 2017 to build solar farms.

“Of course after 2017 any small contribution from the reduced strike price will still allow solar farms to be built as the increased electricity price, partially caused by subsidies to expensive offshore wind and nuclear, will make grid parity even easier. As usual solar will adapt to changes and still be built.”

The BBC reports that the revised strike prices will be announced in a written ministerial statement later today.

An original version of this article appeared on PV Tech’s sister site Solar Power Portal. We will bring further updates on this story as it develops.

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