Solar Trade Association says its rescue plan would add £1 to household energy bills and save 27,000 jobs

Solar panels

The UK’s main trade association for solar energy has proposed an “emergency” rescue plan it says would save thousands of jobs across the sector.

The Solar Trade Association (STA) says its “£1 rescue plan” - in response to proposals by the Department for Energy and Climate Change to cut the feed-in tariff (FIT) subsidy by 87% - would add just over £1 to household energy bills by 2019 and save 27,000 jobs in the industry.

The STA is calling for cross-party support for its rescue plan, and has urged its members to write to energy secretary Amber Rudd, chancellor George Osborne and prime minister David Cameron to lobby them to enact the plan.

FIT subsidies at their current level would cost the government £250m by 2019 according to the STA, and add £6 onto household bills.

The trade body claims that DECC’s proposals would cut the cost to £7m or 8p a year to household bills, but has proposed a compromise subsidy level which would cost £93m and add £1.06 to households by 2019.

It says DECC’s proposals would see deployment of 0.6GW of solar energy by 2019, whereas it is proposing deployment of 2.7GW, which would “prevent industry supply-chains unravelling”.

The STA’s plan would include setting higher initial tariffs to make it viable to invest in solar, with automatic reductions in the tariff based on deployment to allow the government to control costs while giving the industry certainty on where it stands with subsidy levels.

In addition to the feed-in tariff, the STA is also calling for the communities department to create “credible” zero carbon building measures to incentivise solar in new builds, as well as proposing the removal of grid constraints and alignment of commercial sector energy regulations via the Business Energy Tax Review to encourage solar investment.