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ECA urges rethink of feed-in-tariff cuts

Electrical contractors have called on the government to reconsider the level of its proposed reduction in feed-in-tariffs.

In a submission to the consultation on the FITs review by the government, Electrical Contractors Association chief executive Steve Bratt called for a limit of 150KW, instead of the proposed 50KW cap.

He said: “This would encourage community-scale projects, such as solar panels on school and local authority buildings.

“Any significant re-alignment of the tariff away from small-scale PV technology could fundamentally damage the micro-generation sector.”

The government proposes a fast-track review of FITs due to what it perceived as large-scale solar farms taking advantage of the incentives when the scheme had been meant for smaller installations like domestic properties.

The FITs review will assess tariff levels, administration and eligibility of technologies, and is due to be completed before the end of the year with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012 - unless the review calls for greater urgency.

However, Mr Bratt said the review was another area in which the government needed to take the right choices to avoid incurring energy shortages in the near future.

“The government must support, not create confusion around, incentives such as FITs, which are clearly working.”

Mr Bratt added that while progress had been made in terms of reducing carbon emissions by 17 per cent on a 1990 baseline, the challenge to meet 34 per cent greenhouse gas reductions by 2020 will now get harder.

“We need to greatly reduce our energy demand, and soon, if we are to make real progress with reducing carbon and avoid national energy shortages.

“The government must provide leadership and certainty in relation to financial support for both energy efficiency and renewables.

“When it comes to energy supply and carbon reduction, time is running out – we need urgent and decisive government action now.”

The ECA also called on the government to confirm the details of key policy instruments such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment and the Green Deal.

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