Cuts to payments for electricity generated from solar panels will have wider implications for energy efficiency in the social housing sector, Caroline Flint has claimed.
During a parliamentary debate this afternoon the shadow energy secretary said many of the social housing providers she had spoken with had been planning to use income from the feed-in tariff to fund other energy efficiency work.
Social landlords are among the worst hit by proposed reductions in FIT payments, which are made for electricity generated from photovoltaic panels.
The government is proposing to cut FIT payments from 43.3p/kilowatt hour to 21p/kWh from 12 December. But social landlords will receive just 16.8p/kWh as they are to be classed as aggregated schemes that only receive 80 per cent of the payment.
Ms Flint said the solar industry had been ‘cut off at the knees at six weeks notice’ and accused the government of cutting ‘too far and too fast’. She called for ‘planned, sensible reductions in tariffs’.
The debate on the cuts, which is ongoing at the time of writing, coincides with the release of research on the impact of the reductions.
Analysis from energy consultancy Element Energy, for Friends of the Earth, predicts cuts to FIT payments will result in the loss of between 18,000 and 29,000 jobs depending on the outcome of the consultation on the reduction.
It calculates this will cause a corresponding tax drop of between £150 million and £230 million a year.
The government claims current FIT payments are unsustainable and the levels must be cut to allow the scheme to continue. Campaigners claimed the research shows this argument is flawed.
Howard Johns, of the Cut Don’t Kill campaign, said: ‘The government is forging ahead with a cut which is going to cost the Treasury a fortune, as well as devastating a thriving industry.’
Inside Housing is calling for social landlords to be given fair access to FIT payments through our Green Light campaign