As UK policies to support solar come to an end tomorrow, new analysis from charity 10:10 Climate Action reveals that the US states with the strongest support for Donald Trump will offer their citizens more support to install clean energy than will be available to Brits.
The UK’s ‘feed-in tariff’ incentivised households, community groups and businesses to generate their own renewable electricity by installing solar panels - leading to nearly a million UK homes going solar since 2010. With no replacement in place, and no date currently set for an alternative, the end of this scheme will ensure UK policy is more hostile to solar installations than that in heartland Trump states.
Of the five states that voted most heavily for Donald Trump in 2016 all but one have state-level policies in place, in addition to the federal tax credit available nationwide, which incentivise people to install solar. Only Oklahoma lacks additional state policy, though citizens there still benefit from the federal policy.
At a state level, the UK now sits alongside Russia and Saudi Arabia as countries offering no policy to support new solar installations.
Neil Jones, campaigner at 10:10 Climate Action said:
If the UK were part of the USA, its lack of support for solar would be unmatched even by those states that voted overwhelmingly for a president who denies climate change is real.
It’s just incredible that the government has let it come to this. Rooftop solar installations have plummeted over 90% since 2015, despite solar being the UK public’s favourite energy source. The government urgently needs to put meaningful policy in place to fix this - anything less will waste a huge opportunity for people to take positive, practical action on climate change.
Notes to editors
Wyoming, West Virginia, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Kentucky were the top 5 states in which Trump received most votes in the 2016 presidential election. https://www.nytimes.com/elections/2016/results/president
Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota and Kentucky all have ‘net metering’ arrangements in place, meaning consumers are paid for surplus electricity their solar panels produce at the same cost that they buy electricity from their suppliers. https://www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/state-renewable-energy-resources#State%20Policies%20to%20Support%20Renewable%20Energy
As of 1st April 2019 the UK’s previous policy support for small scale renewables, the feed-in tariff, ended.
The export tariff, which remunerates owners of solar panels for power they export to the grid for use by others, was also closed. This means power exported by new solar installations from 1st April will be effectively donated by households and businesses to energy utilities.
The government has consulted on a possible replacement policy, but has not announced what policy will be implemented, or from when.
While in theory ‘contracts for difference’ auctions for government power contracts are available to large scale solar developers, the government is committed not to run these as part of its policy of blocking onshore wind subsidies.
Rooftop solar installations rates have fallen dramatically from their high in 2015, according to the Solar Trade Association https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Fair4Solar20Briefing20JointFINAL.pdf
As early as 2016, UK solar beat coal-fired electricity generation over a six month period. https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-solar-beats-coal-over-half-year
Solar power has been repeatedly identified as the source of energy with most public support in regular government commissioned public polling https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/beis-public-attitudes-tracker-wave-28
10:10 is a UK based charity that brings people together to take positive, practical action on climate change. We engage citizens and communities in finding solutions that benefit the climate and their own lives too. www.1010uk.org
Sarah Barfield Marks
020 7388 6688