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British solar strategy knocked by sector's supporters

Proposal would cut support for large-scale projects by 2015.
By Daniel J. Graeber   |   May 13, 2014 at 10:16 AM   |   Comments

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LONDON, May 13 (UPI) -- British advocacy group Friends of the Earth said Tuesday the government was doing more harm than good with its solar power strategy.

The British Department of Energy and Climate Change said Tuesday there are 2.7 gigawatts of installed solar capacity on the nation's grid. That puts the country in the top 10 in terms of solar capacity and the projections are for at least 10 GW installed by 2020.

Because solar power was doing better than expected, DECC said it proposed a closure to the financial support given to solar projects designed to produce more than 5 megawatts of power as of April 2015.

Alasdair Cameron, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said British policies on renewable energy are in disarray.

"Every time a renewable energy technology starts to do well it gets hit by a wave of government uncertainty, which pushes up costs and threatens jobs and investment," Cameron said in a statement Tuesday.

The British Solar Trade Association was no less critical. Paul Barwell, the group's chief executive officer, said the solar energy sector was doing well and was on pace to become cheaper than onshore wind in three years.

"If these proposals go through, they will knock the industry's extraordinary progress back, and actually reduce healthy competition in the renewables sector," he said in a statement.

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