Fears grow for future of local solar jobs

Solar panels
Solar panels
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Almost 200 Knowsley jobs in the solar industry could be at risk following proposed cuts to the feed-in tariff for solar energy.

A new study published by Solar Trade Association has estimated that 184 jobs in the solar energy sector in Knowsley and its supply chain are under threat after The Department of Energy and Climate Change proposed to cut the tariff paid for electricity generated by solar rooftop panels from 12.4p to 1.6p.

Across the North West there are currently 58,687 solar homes and 1,387 big solar rooftops on schools, warehouses and other commercial buildings.

It is estimated as many as 3,500 of the 4,400 solar jobs in the North West could be axed.

But Redsky Solar, in St Helens, has just announced 65 new jobs as part of the company’s continued growth and commitment to creating jobs in the area.

Solar engery has been praised for the way it allows households and communities to take charge of their energy bill and act on climate change.

An alliance of organisations ranging from the National Farmers Union, the Confederation of British Industry, social housing providers and local authorities recently urged the government to “urgently reconsider” its proposal.

Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, said: “Within this new set of proposals, the Government has used sunlight levels you might find in Devon, rather than those found in Yorkshire as they have done in the past. Here at the Solar Trade Association however we believe more than just one corner of the country should be able to get the benefits of going solar.

“The government’s short-term thinking on bills is condemning hardworking families to a future of higher energy costs.”