11,000 solar job layoffs
The full scale of likely job cuts in the solar industry is now emerging. An industry study of 139 solar companies shows the impact of the proposed cuts to solar feed in tariffs on the UK industry. Key findings:
- Four in 10 jobs may go.
- 95% of social housing tenants may not get their solar energy.
- 33% of companies fear closure.
- 90% say cuts are too deep and too fast.
Almost all respondents (98%) say they are alarmed by the Government’s treatment of the UK solar industry.
In total the companies surveyed employ 4,055 people. The feared job losses amount to 1,715 people, representing 42% of current total staff currently employed by these companies. The Renewable Energy Association estimates employment at 25,000 across the UK solar industry. Applying this rate of job loss to the sector would result in the loss of 11,000 solar jobs nationally.
The survey revealed a stark impact on the social housing sector. Companies involved in social housing said a total of 31,522 social houses are now likely to have their solar schemes cancelled. Only 1,441 social housing installations are now deemed viable. Nationally, some 20,000 social houses could proceed of an estimated 100,000.
The REA comments that if the Government was to get fully behind this industry, solar will be cheaper than the prices households and businesses will be paying for electricity not long after this Parliament. That will totally transform choice and competition in the UK electricity sector. The Chancellor must secure this industry’s future in his autumn statement. It is Alice in Wonderland to achieve such fantastic results and, given the remaining budget, find ourselves fearful for the very survival of the UK solar industry.
Only a fifth of companies (17%) were confident they could weather these changes, with little or no anticipated change to staff numbers. There is a wide range of ways in which companies are being affected financially. Containers of solar modules have been ordered and paid for. Millions of pounds’ worth of stock is sitting in warehouses. Contracts totalling millions of pounds have been signed up to March 2012. Conversely some smaller companies are struggling to buy modules and inverters to fulfil current orders.
REA and the Solar Trade Association will be meeting Ministers to discuss the very difficult situation for the solar industry at the DECC Roundtable later this week.