A senior policy manager at industry trade body Scottish Renewables has warned that the UK Government decision to introduce further “crippling tariff cuts” will hit hard.
The Feed-in Tariff system is set for closure in 2019, with a consultation of the scheme’s future a year overdue.
The system was established to ensure fixed-rate payments for electricity generated by small-scale solar, wind and hydro schemes.
Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Every renewable energy technology which depends upon the Feed-in Tariff in some way will suffer from its demise differently.
“Hydropower, for instance, is one of our most established sources of electricity, but is one which requires support in the early stages of a project in order to help it proceed.
“Hydro turbines can generate electricity for up to 100 years. That long term contribution to our clean electricity system isn’t currently recognised by schemes like the Feed-in Tariff.
“Other technologies, like solar PV, have different economics. Solar has already been hard-hit by a number of severe cuts to the tariff in recent years, but is one of the technologies which is closest to being subsidy free at all scales.
“For our members, the only certainty here is uncertainty. Decisions at Westminster have clear and meaningful impacts on clean energy companies across the UK, and therefore on the people they employ.
“With the right support, Feed-in Tariff-scale technologies can continue to thrive in the UK, and we look forward to working with government plans for their future.”
Ms Smith said that the issue will be hotly debated at this years Scottish Renewables Solar Conference, due to be held on September 4 at the COSLA Conference Centre in Edinburgh.
Accordingly, the history of solar energy will be discussed, an energy first helped, then hindered, by the changes in Feed-in-Tariff rules.
Ms Smith siad: “Solar power’s story in recent years really is one of ups and downs. Industry has seen incredible cost reductions which have made schemes more viable than ever, but also endured crippling tariff cuts.
“Arguably key among these challenges, of course, is the future of the Feed-in Tariff, which the UK Government has said could end in just six months’ time.
“This conference will aim to answer just some of the questions around how solar survives post 2019, and indeed set out a picture of how this technology could flourish into the 2020s.”