Solar industry facing devastating 800% tax increase
Britain’s solar industry is facing devastation and consumers could see energy bills rise after the Chancellor Philip Hammond refused to listen to pleas to cancel a planned tax hike of up to 800 per cent on rooftop solar schemes. The Solar Trade Association described the Government’s refusal to bend over the increase as “nonsensical” and “absurd”.
Bizarrely, state schools with solar panels will be forced to pay, while private schools will remain exempt.
Mr Hammond barely mentioned the energy sector in his speech – apart from a promise to help the oil and gas industry “maximise exploitation” of the remaining reserves in the North Sea.
According to the Government’s own figures, solar power is expected to become the cheapest form of electricity generation sometime in the 2020s.
But the UK solar industry lost 12,000 jobs last year and there has been an 85 per cent reduction in the deployment of rooftop solar schemes.
So the sector had hoped the Government would listen to their request to drop the huge increase in business rates affecting rooftop solar from next month.
Some 44,000 solar “microgenerators” who are currently exempt from business rates could be faced with a bill of hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds.
Speaking after reading the detail of the Budget in Treasury documents, Leonie Greene, of the Solar Trade Association, told The Independent: “Fair to say we are dismayed. We are facing an extreme business rate rise of up to 800 per cent.
“Listening to what the Chancellor said today, there was no mention of energy apart from oil and gas.
“I have to say we are astonished because deployment of solar is at a six-year low.
“This is slightly less than helpful for the British solar industry… it’s absurd. Energy tax policy is going in the opposite direction to how we know energy needs to change and how it is changing.
“What he is doing is advantaging old technology and disadvantaging new ones. It’s nonsensical.”