STA: Push to keep solar thermal support in the UK

Solar thermal can provide domestic heat and help reduce fuel poverty. (Photo: Solar Trade Association/Norfolk Solar)
Solar thermal can provide domestic heat and help reduce fuel poverty. (Photo: Solar Trade Association / Norfolk Solar)

The British solar industry wants to fight against the government’s plans to stop the support of solar thermal. If the plans go ahead, solar thermal could be removed from the renewable heat incentive completely in 2017.

The Solar Trade Association (STA) has pledged to continue their efforts to keep solar thermal in the RHI scheme, as the government’s consultation on plans to cut off all support for the technology closed Wednesday 27 April. The final decision is likely to be made in July.

A survey conducted by the body over the last week shows that 83% of the industry backs their proposals for reform of the scheme to boost take up and provide more value for money. Additionally, an analysis conducted earlier this year by the STA has shown that there has been an 88% increase in solar thermal sales enquiries compared to the same period in 2015 for the first few months of this year.

The Solar Trade Association names many applications where solar thermal could reduce fuel poverty and increase the use of renewable heat to nearly half of the heat demand with the help of process heat but also domestic solar thermal systems. The organization also argues that the government’s proposals are contradictory, on the one hand seeking to extend renewable heat to less-able-to-pay homes, but removing the best technology for those households with the other.

Mike Landy, Head of Policy at the Solar Trade Association commented: “Recent months have shown renewed market interest in solar thermal from consumers, so we call on the government to reinvigorate its support, not cut it off.  Otherwise the country risks losing a strategically important option to reduce emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels.” STA is set to publish its submission to the review in full.

Solar Trade Association / Tanja Peschel

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