Says he wished he had cut them earlier

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has said he regrets not cutting feed-in tariff subsidies for large solar panel projects even earlier, following a review that dramatically scaled back government support for the technology in March.

On 18 March a review of the feed-in tariff subsidy proposed cutting the amount of subsidy to arrays over 50kW - about the size of two tennis courts - by 40-70%, causing a number of commercial schemes to be reassessed.

The secretary of state for energy and climate change argued that subsidies for larger commercial installations had to be cut back because they were using up the £360m pot of money for the tariffs, and there was a danger that domestic panels would be starved of money.

Asked by Building if he had any regrets over how the announcement was handled, he said: “To be honest, it’s that we didn’t pick up the problem earlier, but it was introduced by the last government.

“The increase in large scale projects [was] unanticipated by the last government,” he said.

In April, property agent Jones Lang Lasalle warned that large solar panel projects had come to a halt as commercial developers reigned back plans in light of the review.