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Green Cuts: Government Solar Project Cancelled

An ambitious plan to put solar panels on schools, hospitals and other public buildings has been cancelled.

Buying solutions, the Government quango responsible for taking forward major new projects, wanted to install solar panels on the roof of town halls, army bases and other land or buildings owned by the public.

The scheme was considered value for money because the Feed in Tariff (FIT), that pays those who install panels to generate electricity, offered a good return.

However following changes to FIT, which mean larger solar installations will not earn so much money, the project was pulled.

Solar companies say the Government have ‘shot themselves in the foot’ by reducing the green subsidy for medium sized projects like schools and hospitals.

An ongoing consultation proposes reducing subsidies for any solar panel project more than 50 kilowatts, the equivalent of panels on 20 houses.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change insist that FITs had to be reduced to stop large solar farms taking all the money before households could cash in.

But solar companies claim medium-sized projects on schools, hospitals and community centres are also losing out.

Katie Moore, co-founder of the Solar Club, a community whose members are planning to invest in a solar project, said she was in contact with the Government last year after proposing to put panels on a navy base.

However following the review of FITs she was told that the solar project was no longer going ahead.

She suspects the reduction in tariffs for medium-sized projects was the cause.

“The Government were withdrawing from their own project,” she said. “If the government estate can’t do it – and they know more than us – then how are other medium-sized projects expected to make money?”

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