Government renewable energy plans announced this week could create a multibillion-pound surge in demand for construction work

Under plans to reward homeowners who sell energy to power utilities, the Department of Energy and Climate Change this week announced that the price to be paid would be 41p/kWh, a far higher level than expected.

The department said this level of feed-in-tariff could mean that a photovoltaic (PV) panel could generate £900 a year if all its electricity were sold.

David Strong, chair of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes, said: “This changes the renewables industry from being marginal to one with a strong business driver.”

Companies that supply or fit renewable energy generators such as Eaga and SIG are set to benefit from the tariff; shares in Eaga rose 8% after the announcement.

Incentivisation programmes across Europe have proved to be a massive success

Paul Roche, SIG

SIG estimates that the market for PV alone could be worth £27bn. Paul Roche, director of SIG’s Sustainable Solutions arm, said: “It is great news for the construction industry. Incentivisation programmes across Europe, especially Germany, have proved to be a massive success and provided a boost to the roofing sectors.”

The announcement gave a range of feed-in-tariff prices for different technologies, as well as committing the government to linking the price to inflation. The government will also consult on introducing a system for paying developers to produce heat through renewable technology.

Neil May, chair of the Good Homes Alliance, said there was a danger the move would distract housebuilders from constructing energy-efficient buildings. He said: “The truth is it allows builders to take their eye off the ball – which should be about getting sustainable buildings.”