April sunshine provided welcome boost for UK solar industryMay 17th, 2011 by Simon Haddock
Recruitment in the solar technology industry grew significantly in the first quarter of this year and a large number of the new positions can be directly attributed to the Feed in Tariff programme.
In the first three months of the year, the UK solar industry created 951 new jobs, a 32% increase on the previous quarter. The number of solar industry sales jobs declined but there was a significant increase in technical and engineering vacancies.
The majority of the new positions were centred around the south east of England, whilst only 10% were situated in Scotland and Wales.
The unusually sunny weather we experienced in April also provided a welcome boost for the industry. Last month there were 3,603 solar installations and 3,548 of these were for residential properties. It is unsure whether this spike was due to the inflation driven increase in the FiT or because people want to get connected to the grid before the potential cut in tariffs at the beginning of August.
Homes in the UK are currently responsible for 27% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. On Wednesday we heard that the economic recovery was stalling and energy bills are expected to rise by a further 15% later on this year. Put these two factors together and solar installation companies could find themselves even busier over the next couple of months.
But what happens come August? Although the cut in tariffs won’t affect individual householders, it would have an effect on any community solar schemes accredited after 1st August.
If new, much needed jobs are being created and more householders are choosing to go green, isn’t the government shooting itself in the foot if it cuts the Feed in Tariff? Shouldn’t it be do everything in its power to encourage individuals and businesses to install photovoltaic panels?