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British Solar Workers Feel the Effect of Subsidy Cuts

15 Jun 10:00 by Steve Walia

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Figures show that over half of Britain's solar industry jobs have been slashed in the face of government subsidy cuts. Changing energy policy has been blamed on a wave of job losses at the point when solar energy generation has started to achieve its original goals in the UK.

The loss of jobs has exceeded 35,000, according to the solar power sector. Experts in the field believe that the government was too quick to cut subsidies for the sector - and cut them too deeply - ignoring the huge growth in the technology's adoption.

The latest casualty is the Solar Cloth Company, which announced last month that it would be going into administration, and there was the recent confirmation of 170 redundancies at Solarlec just weeks ago. Last year, the Mark Group also went into administration, with nearly 1,000 jobs lost as a result.

The Solar Trade Association is collecting data which it intends to shortly publish, and believes that nearly 18,000 jobs have been lost in the last year alone. Those solar businesses that remain are now desperately trying to re-engineer their businesses or focus on emerging markets overseas.

The chairman of the STA, John Selwyn, said that ministers were showing concern about challenged industrial sectors whilst rapidly slashing essential support mechanisms for growing green energy sectors. The government has said in response, however, that its obligation is to maintain a balance of employment with consumer bills. Their priority is to keep domestic energy bills at an affordable level whilst still being able to support the development of value-for-money, low-carbon technologies.

Solar energy costs have dropped over the past ten years, which has encouraged the government to move away from subsidy systems and to push the fledging solar industry to become genuinely competitive.