Solar panel supplier Skyline Solar says FITs cuts likely to lose it multimillion-pound orders

A solar panel manufacturer has laid bare the impact of the government’s “catastrophic” green subsidy cuts on the sector, including up to £2.5m worth of lost orders for his firm.

Speaking to Building, Skyline Solar’s business development manager Thomas Russell said the government’s planned cut to the feed-in tariff (FIT) would be “catastrophic” for the solar sector.

He revealed the firm is set to miss out on two major commercial projects, together worth £2.5m, which he said was a direct consequence of the government’s proposal for an 87% cut to the FIT, which could come into effect as early as January.

The first project was a 1MW solar installation on a factory in the Wirral for tea-maker Typhoo Tea. The second project was a 1.6MW capacity solar installation on a distribution centre for a high street fashion retailer - which he declined to name - as well as a further 300KW installation for the same client on its London headquarters.

Russell said the clients were currently “reviewing” the projects, but added that “as it stands, they will probably be cancelled”.

Skyline Solar is the solar PV installation arm of Skyline Roofing Centres, a £20m-turnover, London-based firm with 119 staff.

Russell said that should the government’s planned cuts go ahead, some jobs in the solar division could be moved to the group’s roofing or construction business.

But he added: “Anyone who’s technically a specialist in solar, who can’t move to another part of the group, will probably just have to join the dole queue.”

While the cuts will mean work at the solar firm will “drop completely dead” if they come into force next year, Russell said the business is currently “inundated” with orders now as customers rush to get solar panels installed before the changes.

He said: “We’re talking three times the number of the orders […] We’ll probably be installing up until 30 December. It will go to the wire. But then it will drop completely dead.”

He added that for the solar industry “it’s total boom and bust, far worse than the recession”.