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Written by Claire Munro Monday, 07 November 2011 11:54
The SFHA has today (Monday 7th November) added its voice to the growing call for the UK Government to think again about its potentially disastrous plans to halve subsidies
for fitting solar panels to homes.
The SFHA has established that the plans to halve the Feed-In Tariff for domestic electricity generation (from 43p per kilowatt/hour to 21p per k/Wh) for solar PVs (photovoltaic panels), announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change last week (1), will jeopardise projects in communities across Scotland to tackle fuel poverty and climate change.
The proposed changes to the funding mean that thousands of homes across Scotland, many in some of the poorest communities, would lose out on getting the panels fitted.
Solar PV panels, are a major type of domestic energy generation that housing associations and co-operatives fit to properties to help tackle climate change and reduce fuel bills.
Dr Mary Taylor, Chief Executive of the SFHA, called on the UK Government to think again:
"Some housing association and co-operative tenants are amongst the poorest people in society and fuel poverty is a huge problem for many of them.
"Housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland have been leading the way on schemes to install solar PV panels, with the aim of reducing tenants' fuel bills by providing them with cheap and clean electricity.
"If the UK Government goes through with their proposals to cut the Feed in Tariffs by half, then the many schemes developed by housing associations will be stopped, with tenants paying the price in terms of higher fuel bills. It will also impact on efforts to tackle climate change.
"This cut is too much, too soon, with the lower subsidy due to be imposed in just six weeks. Associations have spent a lot of time and money on preparing projects which could now be scrapped in the coming weeks, and we would call on the UK Government to delay this cut, at the very least."
Dr Taylor pointed out that this cut is especially unfair in Scotland, where many properties are off the gas network, and colder winters with less sunlight make solar panels more expensive to fund:
"The UK Government needs to recognise that because of our climate and the high number of houses that are not on the mains gas network, fuel poverty and energy efficiency are greater issues in Scotland. We therefore call on the review to take account of the particular circumstances Scottish householders face and to provide a tariff that takes account of the climate of more northerly areas."
The consultation on Feed in Tariffs for solar photovoltaic closes on 23rd December.
Visit our website at www.sfha.co.uk
1) Read the Department of Energy and Climate Change's Consultation on Feed-In Tariffs for Solar PV here
2) The SFHA was established in 1975 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
3) The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country's affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
4) Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.
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