A Government scheme to generate power from solar panels could create up to 30,000 new jobs if people are paid just a few pence more per unit, campaigners have claimed.
In an attempt to make installing small-scale renewables more attractive, the Government plans to pay users a sum for every unit of electricity they consume from “green” sources.
But campaigners warned the amount being offered to homeowners, business and other organisations to receive electricity from solar panels is too low to boost uptake of the technology, and would mean a “missed opportunity” for the environment and economy.
Under current proposals, from April 2010 users will be paid between 26p and 36.5p per unit of power generated. The “We Support Solar” coalition, made up of MPs and green groups, has said the figure needs to be at least 10p more per unit.
The group says the extra funding would increase demand for 400,000 new solar PV units, creating jobs in solar manufacturing, design, installation and servicing.
It said under current plans, a target of 0.5% of all UK electricity demands to be powered by solar panels would be achieved by 2020. By increasing the incentive, more than six times the Government target could be reached. We Support Solar said the extra payments could take the form of rebates on energy bills, paid for by a levy on energy bills, costing the average payer just £2.50 more per year.