In another example of the short-sightedness of the UK Government cutting the subsidy for solar power, renewable energy, Coventry cathedral has had to cancel plans to be the first cathedral in the UK to be powered by solar panels commercial electricity.
The historic cathedral, that was rebuilt after bombing raids in the Second World War, was planning to invest £100,000 installing the panels. However cuts in green subsidies offered by the Government now make the project financially unviable. Initially the offer of 43p for every unit of energy generated meant that the cathedral would be able to pay back the costs and make money.
But the Government’s decision to slash the so-called ‘Feed in Tariff’ by more than half to 21p means that the sums no longer add up energy procurement
Jane Woodward, executive director at the cathedral, said the Cathedral cannot afford such a huge expense without the guarantee of getting the money back in time.
“We don’t have lots of spare cash to do this on principle unfortunately, so the feed-in tariff was fairly key to making the project go ahead for us,” she said.
The cathedral is just the latest project to scrap plans to install solar after the cuts in subsidies. Research from the Cut Don’t Kill Campaign, a coalition of solar companies and non-governmental organisations, shows that the UK solar industry has contracted by 25 per cent in the past nine months, with over 6,000 jobs lost. In the current economic climate this is disastrous, and shows just how short-sighted the British Government is when looking at renewable energy.
Howard Johns, spokesman for the Cut Don’t Kill campaign, said even more companies could fold if the subsidy is cut further.
“If the Government is serious about seizing the momentum and boosting renewable energy jobs it has a very funny way of showing it. After the total policy shambles of the last six months it is now vital that the government’s actions need to match their soothing words. The Department for Energy and Climate Change should think again and abandon the next round of swingeing feed-in tariff cuts expected in July.”
Both the National Trust and the Church of England say they have had to cancel projects and schools and community centres.
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