After sweeping government cuts to solar subsidies, the British solar energy industry has been forced to slash more than 12,000 jobs in the sector. Furthermore, worse could yet be set to come, as over a third of firms surveyed have said that they expect to make further losses in their workforce in the coming year.
The news comes after the government cut subsidies to solar power payments, and it also means that Britain will fail to achieve its legally binding EU target to produce 15 pc of its total energy needs from renewables by 2020, according to the report produced by the Solar Trade Association.
Further negative impacts are expected to be driven by the uncertainty following the decision to leave the EU and the anticipated period of adjustment that will happen after Article 51 is finally triggered and the timetable for Britain's exit is confirmed. However, at the same time, the authors recognise that some solar businesses will in fact find opportunities in the removal of European red tape, once the UK is operating independently from EU trade regulations.
Various subsidies for renewables were slashed in 2015, including the Renewables Obligation, the Feed-In Tariff and the Contracts for Difference scheme. Some subsidies do still remain, which means that further jobs may be slashed once they are phased out. The Renewables Obligation will be scrapped by next March.
Four in ten of the firms surveyed said that they were considering leaving the industry altogether and considering other options. The STA is calling on the government to implement tax breaks, pointing to the incredible success of America's 30pc tax credit for all solar investments. PWC has suggested too that change should come within the industry itself with diversification, greater efficiencies and models that don't rely on subsidies.