The United Kingdom’s decision to strip away subsidies aimed at residential solar users has been linked to a dramatic collapse in the rate of new installations.
The sudden drop in home installs, which followed the abolition of feed-in tariffs that reward users for sharing their energy with the grid, offers a sharp warning to the rest of the world about the crucial role of subsidies in driving renewable energy adoption to break even point with fossil fuels.
After the subsidies were revoked, new solar installations in the U.K. dropped from 79 megawatts in March to just five megawatts in April, a 97 percent month-to-month decrease. The data was compiled by the U.K’s Labour opposition party, and first reported by The Guardian on Wednesday.
The drop coincides with an aggressive rollback of subsidies, dropping feed-in tariffs after nine years. Without these feed-in tariffs, solar owners were no longer able to earn money by giving excess energy to the national grid, drastically driving up a solar roof installation’s break-even point.