A survey carried out by the Solar Trade Association (STA) has reported a massive drop in sales in solar panels in the last few months. The STA, a body which represents photovoltaic installers, manufacturers and suppliers has stated that since the arrival in office of David Cameron’s Conservative government business has dropped off considerably.

Paying particular attention to solar thermal installers, the STA findings have shown that since early May around 50per cent of these installers have reported a 75 per cent reduction in new business, figures which are likely to have resonance across the renewable energy sectors.

Spending cutbacks have been the prominent feature of the new coalition government and these spending cuts have certainly been felt in the solar energy industry according to the STA’s findings. Concepts such as the ‘Green New Deal’ are also being harmed with a sharp fall in green jobs across the country. Indeed, the STA report found that 65 per cent of its members were considering leaving the industry temporarily during these hard times with 7 per cent considering leaving permanently.

Chairman of the STA, Howard Johns said,

“We have a new Government which claims to be the greenest Government ever, yet in its first days it has caused severe setbacks in what is otherwise a buoyant sector. Removing grant support for solar thermal and giving no clarity on new incentives has severely hit a sector that will provide many green jobs and lots of renewable energy with the right support behind it.”

The withdrawal of certain schemes for solar thermal such as Renewable Heat Incentives and the Low Carbon Building program grants have been in stark contrast to solar PV where feed-in tariffs have seen investment and installation go from strength to strength. First introduced under the guise of the Clean Energy Cash back scheme, it highlights exactly how crucial government incentive schemes are in kick starting renewable energy take up in the UK.

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