Industry warns that closure of low-carbon building fund jeopardises renewables sector

Renewable-energy chiefs have warned that the photovoltaics industry is at a cliff edge after government funding under the Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) ran out.

No applications have been allowed since 26 February and the scheme ends in June.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) urged the government to unlock £12m-£15m that it said remained in the LCBP budget. At the present rate of spend it is predicted that £8m will remain unspent by the end of the programme. and will be sent back to the Treasury.

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Philip Wolfe, REA director general, said the halt in funding put the lie to the government's green agenda. “This latest disaster in the Low Carbon Buildings Programme is completely at odds with the Green New Deal we hear so much about,” he said.

“We are talking about relatively small sums to support UK manufacturing, technological innovation and local jobs. This is an industry with a very bright future and a key contributor to the low carbon future we are aiming for.”

The comments are the latest in a long line of criticism of stop-go funding for the sector, which companies say allows little chance of long-term capacity investment.

The government is in the process of consulting on the introduction of a feed-in tariff for small-scale renewable electricity, but any such step is not expected to be implemented for more than a year.