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Delay to cuts could save solar PV

The solar PV industry has suffered a hit thanks to reductions in tariffs and the general climate of economic uncertainty. Imminent cuts to incentives under FiTs could be delayed however as the Government has allegedly missed a parliamentary deadline. The government had been expected to confirm further cuts to the tariffs by early May with a view to the changes coming into effect from 1 July. 

Yesterday, Climate Change Minister Greg Barker confirmed the Government was now considering delaying the plans. "Having listened carefully to industry, we are looking at scope for pushing back a little the next proposed reduction in solar feed-in tariffs," he wrote on Twitter.

However, according to sources in the solar industry the government missed the deadline required to provide 40 days' notice to Parliament ahead of any changes to the scheme. As a result, ministers would have to delay cuts until mid-July at the earliest or else risk a legal challenge over the plans.

The news is likely to fuel hopes that the government will hold off from making further cuts until the market picks up. Recent installation figures show demand collapsed after the government changed the rules governing the scheme and halved the level of incentives available from April 1.

The latest figures show the number of installations dropped to 912 in the week ending 13 May, creating around 4MW of capacity - a huge reduction on the tens of thousands of installations undertaken during February and March.

Total installed capacity for the past four weeks reached 17MW, against a four-weekly average of 71MW over the past year. Labour has calculated it would now take 169 years to reach the government's target of delivering 22GW of solar capacity under the current deployment rates.

The Solar Trade Association (STA) has also requested a meeting with Barker to discuss ways to revive the flat-lining market and has urged the government to delay the planned cuts.

"We are facing an unusual set of challenges right now and it is fundamentally a problem of confidence and perception," said Alan Aldridge, STA chairman. "We need all champions of solar - in government, industry and elsewhere - to help us get the message out that solar is still a great investment, particularly with energy bills on the rise again.

"But we also need government to show real sensitivity to the current situation and work with us to create a stable and growing market."

Logic Certification provides Solar PV courses for both installers and designers.

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