Shell CEO describes Solar as future backbone of Energy Industry

23 September by Miriam Heale


Are Government missing out on an opportunity to create an economically strong UK Solar industry?

In a joint letter this week to the Government; commerical companies; IKEA, Panasonic and DuPont have joined forces with organisations including the Solar Trade Assocication, RenewableUK and TUC, to call for a reconsidering of proposals to cut subsidies to the solar industry.

Ministers have said the 90% cuts in the "feed-in tariff" for generating power from rooftop solar panels are necessary to avoid rising costs affecting consumer bills. 

However, these international commercial companies and industry associations have written to ministers in a bid to reconsider the changes that are set for January 2016.

Cuts to solar subsidies could cost 20,000 jobs and may cause the collapse of the renewable energy industry Government were warned.

This comes in the same week that Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive, Royal Dutch Shell, told the BBC that solar power would dominate the global energy economy.

“I have no hesitation to predict that in years to come solar will be the dominant backbone of our energy system, certainly of the electricity system.”

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has come under fierce criticism in the Commons from MPs from all parties, as they described the jobs at risk in their communities.

The letter said; “Your own analysis shows nearly a million fewer homeowners, social housing providers, businesses, community groups, local authorities and farmers will be able to join the ‘solar revolution’ you called for just four months ago. It is vital to engage society in making the shift to a low-carbon economy.” 

STA modelling, verified by experts from Imperial College, showed that adding only £1.70 to household bills till 2020 would deliver well over a million more solar homes. 

The modelling also showed that it is growth and political stability which will drive the sector off subsidy through economies of scale.

This could be a huge missed opportunity for the UK, if the Government, as a spokesman from The Solar Trade Association commented: 

“It is quite wrong to suggest we cannot afford to go solar. The truth is we cannot afford not to. It’s hard to think of a greater waste of public money than building up a strong British solar industry, hailed by the Prime Minister as a success, and then pushing it over a cliff before it is ready to fly.”