OPEN LETTER 15th February, 2011
Dear Secretary of State Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP
We urge you to please act quickly to repair the damage done to the fledgling UK PV sector by your Commons Written Statement and Press Release on 7th February. The shock decision to launch a “fast-track” review for all PV down to the size of small community and business installations has caused chaos in key parts of the sector.
Your announcement has halted investment in many projects over 50kW including “Big Society” community schemes of the type we thought the Government was particularly keen to support.
Many solar PV companies cannot plan for the next financial year, invest in growth or take on more staff. Far from delivering an estimated 17,000 new green jobs by the end of 2011, the sector faces the risk of losses to existing jobs if you insist on proceeding with the fast-track review as set out on 7th February.
Your press statement (7th February) equates solar fields with ‘a threat’, even though none have been built in the UK. This pre-empts the outcome of any review. We urge you to ensure that nobody loses money as a result of investing in good faith on the basis of Government policy. Ministerial assurances that any “fast-track” review would only be launched after publication of a “trigger” have not been delivered. No such “trigger” has ever been published with the result that tens of milllions of pounds of private sector investment in projects greater than 50 kW is now threatened.
We very much hope you will please act quickly to restore stability and certainty. Representatives of signatories to this letter will be very pleased to meet with you to discuss how this might be done.
Leonie Greene, We Support Solar / Dave Sowden, Chief Executive, Micropower Council / Andrew Lee, Head of UK Sales, Sharp / Jeremy Leggett, Executive Chairman, Solarcentury / Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder Director, The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy / Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK / David Cowans, Chief Executive, Places for People / Dr. Jonathan Scurlock, Chief Adviser, Renewable Energy and Climate Change National Farmers Union / Tim Smit CBE, Chief-Executive, Co-Founder, The Eden Project / Dale Vince OBE, Founder, Ecotricity / Andrew Leech, Director, National Home Improvement Council / Ray Horwood CBE, Chief Executive, Federation of Roofing Contractors / Richard Dimnet, Director General, Federation of Master Builders / Alan Simpson, Sustainable Energy Adviser, Friends of the Earth / Rob Hopkins, Founder, Transition Town Network / Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director, Scientists for Global Responsibility / Howard Johns, Chairman, Solar Trade Association / Prof. Stephen Frankel, Founder, Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network / Craig Jackson, South Yorkshire Housing Association / James Hoare, Managing Director, Ardenham Energy Ltd / John Elkington, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Volans Ventures Ltd. / Julia Craik, Manager, The Premises Studios / Iain Aubusson, Editor, Housing Association Building Maintenance Magazine / Kevin Keiley, Arun Construction Services Ltd. / Nigel Brunton-Reed, Kier Energy Innovations, Beco Ltd / Chris Rowland. Director, Ovesco / Steve Rhodes, Chair, Tetbury Ecopower / Fiona Nicholls, Sutainable Change Co-operative / Ross Weddle, Managing Director, Community Renewable Energy / Dan McCallum, Manager, Awel Aman Tawe / Esther Jones, Founder Director, Torrs Hydro and Sustainable Development Adviser, High Peaks CVS / Ben Whittle, Branch Manager, Southern Solar / Cathy Debenham, Director, YouGen / Miguel Mendonca, Converging World / Ed Gillespie, Co-Founder, Futerra Susatinability Communications / Stephen Lambert, Councilor, Aylesbury Liberal Democrats / Mark Cawood, Managing Director, Cawoods Electricians / Martin Dowd, MG Renewables Ltd. / Sean Gilvey, Pro SolarPower Ltd. / Richard Bacon, Ecovolt Ltd / Alex Hunt, Bright Green Homes LLP / Iain Garner, Managing Director, Solar Consultants Ltd. / Nadim Chaudhry, Managing Director, Green Power Conferences / Bob Dixon, National Sales Director, I.C.B Ltd / Tom Elliott, Managing Director, Solar Peak / Bruce Usher, Partner, Bloombridge / Liz Alexander, Account Director, Epoch / Cheryl Campsie, Director, Forster / Elizabeth Block, Director, EJB Communications / Emma Hughes, Editor, Solar Power Portal / Adam Oilver, Operations Director, mo3 Power / Gareth McGuire, Power Pac Ltd. / Aarron Chappell, Eco2 UK / Alison Williams, SolarAid / Green Tomato Energy / The Little Green Energy Company / Lagi Contractors and a number of other signatories