Solar job cuts now likely
With new evidence that cuts to solar subsidies are leading to layoffs, two Government Committees are now opening inquiries into Government support for the industry. It looks like employers are not only revising their employment growth plans, but are actually set to cut employment in the emerging small scale solar sector. A survey of 140 companies (4,055 workers) found that half (56%) would cut their workforce if the cuts to the feed in tariff went ahead as planned.
The firms surveyed by the Solar Trade Association (FT, 8 November 2011) look likely to shed around 1,700 jobs. Projects in the social housing sector will be especially hard hit, with over 31,000 installations cancelled and only 1,441 proceeding. The tariff changes will take place on 12 December, 11 days before the end of the current DECC consultation. This has led to a serious threat of legal action by environmental NGOs if the Government sticks to this plan.
The Environmental Audit Committee and Energy and Climate Change Committee are calling for evidence on the Feed-in Tariffs for small-scale Solar Photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy, with a view to hearing oral evidence later this month.