SOLAR POWERThe UK government has announced it is to cease funding for the Green Deal, spelling the end for its flagship energy household efficiency programme. The scheme offers cashbacks and incentives on such things as double-glazing, insulation and boilers. The Department for Energy and Climate Change said it took the decision to protect taxpayers, citing low take-up and concerns about industry standards. Labour said ministers’ approach to energy efficiency had been a “failure”. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said it would work with the building industry and consumer groups to agree a new “value-for-money approach”. Future schemes needed to provide better value for money, and support the goal of insulating one million more homes and the government’s commitment to tackle fuel poverty, it said. The announcement comes a day after the government said it would be consulting on whether to end subsidies for many new solar farms.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said it was to consult on closing support for new solar farms under 25 acres in size by April next year. It argued that scrapping the renewables obligation scheme for smaller projects would help bring down the cost of solar subsidies to bills, currently running at £3 per household. Other measures  included removing the guaranteed level of subsidy for biomass conversions. Critics rounded on the proposals, suggesting they would hit investment in clean energy and jobs. But the DECC said: “Reducing energy bills for hard working British families and businesses and meeting climate goals in the most cost effective way are Government priorities.

Announcing an end to future funding of the Green Deal Finance Company, which delivers the scheme, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We are on the side of hardworking families and businesses – which is why we cannot continue to fund the Green Deal.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “This proposed cut to support for solar is utterly short-sighted saying “While the Government continues to subsidise fossil fuels and nuclear, it’s undermining investor confidence in clean, renewable energy generation.

More here “Onshore wind, solar, green homes … we round up the measures that have gone under the knife in what some are calling the worst period for UK environmental policy in 30 years”