Cornwall

Cornwall Council hits out at solar subsidy cut

Solar Panels
Image caption Large scale solar energy schemes put small scale schemes at risk says the government

Cornwall Council has expressed disappointment at planned changes to the feed in tariff for large-scale solar energy production.

The UK government has proposed cuts of up to 70% to the tariff, a subsidy for producing renewable energy.

It says small-scale schemes for householders could lose out if large schemes take all the subsidy available.

But Cornwall Council said its own plans could be dashed because they would no longer be profitable.

The government proposal would be implemented on the 1 August, reducing payments to farmers or owners of large commercial buildings.

According to the government's proposal, which is subject to consultation, payments for any solar installation over about 50kW would be reduced.

Greater subsidies

The full reduction would apply to installations from 250kW to 5MW - the standard size for a farm-based scheme.

Julian German, Cornwall Council's cabinet member responsible for the green energy programme, says the feed in tariff was "central to the profitability" of solar farms.

The council has approved a business case for a £14m project near Newquay Airport.

He said: "The council has followed government's guidelines which allow us to generate green electricity and then sell it.

"It is hard to believe that only six months after creating the legislation which allow us to take this route, they are now considering taking away the incentive that made it so financially viable.

The new scheme is designed to preserve funds, which come from consumer bills, for schemes on domestic roofs.

These tend to be more expensive and generally need greater subsidies.

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