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Energy minister accused of "breathtaking arrogance" over solar FiT cuts
Published:  18 June, 2012

Energy Minister Greg Barker was accused of "breathtaking arrogance" by the director of a renewable installation company during a BBC Radio 4 programme discussing the cutting of solar feed-in tariff (FiT) incentives.

David Hunt, director of Eco Environments, told the BBC that the number of domestic solar photovoltaic (PV) installations had dropped dramatically since the FiTs were cut, and that installers were now focusing on the commercial sector instead. He also said he expected the number of installations to fall further after August this year, when the FiT is reduced to 16p/kwh.

Hunt said: “Greg Barker is being totally disingenuous with his use of figures for installation costs. While our quote of £9,000 is for a 4kW solar PV system, the minister’s £6,000 cost is based on a system half that size. If anyone is offering a 4kW system for £6,000 they are not doing it because they want to – they are doing it to survive and live to fight another day. Greg Barker has once again demonstrated both breathtaking arrogance and ignorance at the same time. There is absolutely no evidence at all that the number of installations is growing at the huge rate he suggests or that they will grow when the feed-in-tariff is cut to 16p from August. The only reason why it appears that there has been a small increase in installations is because orders fell off a cliff following the slashing of Feed in Tariffs in April."

Barker disagreed, saying that the report was a “travesty, totally out-of-step with what is happening in the industry". He also said the number of installations are growing, and are "three times higher than a month ago."

David Hunt, director of Eco Environments, told the BBC that the number of domestic solar photovoltaic (PV) installations had dropped dramatically since the FiTs were cut, and that installers were now focusing on the commercial sector instead. He also said he expected the number of installations to fall further after August this year, when the FiT is reduced to 16p/kwh.

Hunt said: “I am also staggered that the Minister chose to promote a conglomerate like Tesco at a time when the jobs of tens of thousands of workers at independent solar installers are either being axed or are in serious jeopardy. Barker went on to say that he is forecasting over a million new installations by 2015 compared to the previous Labour Government target of 250,000, but he is living in a fantasy world if he really believes such a figure has any kind of foundation.”