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UK Government Ends Subsidies For Small Solar Farms

BBC News

Subsidies for many new solar farms are to end under plans being published by the government.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is consulting on plans that would see subsidies for some new solar farms close by 2016.

The government says the move is necessary to protect consumers.

The solar industry said subsidies were one of the cheapest ways that the government could meet its climate change targets.

Under the government’s plans, so called “small scale” solar farms will no longer qualify for support under a key subsidy mechanism – the renewables obligation – from April next year.

New projects that receive the subsidy may also see the level cut.

‘Blank cheque’

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly.

“As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies.”

She told the BBC’s Today programme: “We can’t have a situation where industry has a blank cheque, and that cheque is paid for by people’s bills.

“We can’t have a system, which we’ve had up to now, where there is basically unlimited [subsidy] headroom for new renewables, including solar.”

She conceded that subsidies to the nuclear industry, such as those planned for Hinkley Point, would exceed those going to solar, but she said that nuclear provided “a different type of electricity”.

“In the winter, at the moment, solar doesn’t really deliver much electricity,” she said.

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