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Funding shortfall strangling solar roll-out

A 10-month funding hiaitus will stifle attempts to establish solar thermal technologies, the renewable energy lobby said this week.

Incentives from the Low Carbon Building Programme will expire in two months, and the Renewable Heat Incentive will not begin for a year, leaving 10 months without any economic incentives for solar thermal power sources.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) said this could lead to job losses and bankruptcies within the renewable heat industry, and they want £10M made available to keep funding going until next year.

Homeowners currently receive grants to install renewable heat technologies under the Low Carbon Building Programme Parts 1 and 2, which was originally to expire in spring 2011, but has been brought forward to this year.

Chief Executive of the REA, Gaynor Hartnell, said “Companies are looking forward to April next year when the stop-start era of grant funding ends and the heat incentive kicks in, providing a steady regime giving members certainty in their business planning. However the Low Carbon Buildings Programme grants should be maintained until April, as government had envisaged. This is essential to keep the momentum going.”

Green groups say that solar thermal technolgies will fall out of favour without incentives.

Chair of the Solar Thermal Association, Howard Johns, said “DECC are leading the way globally with the renewable heat incentive, and we are all very impressed by their resolve to deliver this important mechanism. However the current funding gap severely undermines the industry’s ability to deliver on the RHI when it arrives. We are now faced with ten months of shut down before the new funding stream becomes available. It seems unbelievable that £10M cannot be found to keep the industry growing over the coming year.”

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