Greg Barker is to announce than 21p feed-in tariff is a minimum

The government will announce later today that the new rate for solar electricity feed-in tariffs will not be below 21p per kWh for installations registered between now and April 2012, the current proposed rate, and may still be higher.

In October the government unveiled plans to cut the feed in tariff (FIT) paid for solar electricity to 21p per kWh from 43p per kWh from next April for installations registered after today. But the plans remain under consultation until 23 December and some within the industry had feared the final rate could be below 21p.

Solar firms have been hit hard by the cut which many say will kill demand for solar electricity panels, with contractor Carillion putting 4,500 of its staff on redundancy notice in the wake of the consultation.

However, Howard Johns, chair of the Solar Trade Association, said that energy minister Greg Barker told a meeting of solar industry leaders this morning that the rate will not be below 21p and may even be more.

Johns said it was good news. He said: “Because it’s a consultation we don’t really know what the final rate will be, so to sell anything at this point is very difficult. Now we’ve got this comment from the minister people can go out there and sell again.”

A second consultation on further reductions in the feed in tariff after April 2012 is due in January.