Solar Thermal Support

Energy and Climate Change – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th May 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 12:00 am, 12th May 2016

What assessment she has made of the potential effect of the proposed removal of support for solar thermal on the UK solar thermal and cylinder manufacturing industry.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

We launched a consultation in March with proposals for reform of the renewable heat incentive. As the right hon. Gentleman will be aware, the consultation, which closed on 27 April, included a proposal to withdraw RHI support for solar thermal technologies. We are looking carefully at all the responses. I can assure him that in coming to our conclusions we will consider all relevant factors, including the impact on the UK supply chain.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

Does the Minister accept that solar thermal has the lowest CO2 footprint of all heating generation technologies, has no significant ongoing fuel commitments, has relatively low space requirements and is ideal for homes for vulnerable people because there is no requirement for homes to be heavily insulated? Why are the Government proposing to cut support for solar thermal?

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I absolutely agree that it certainly plays a part, but I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that, as part of the reform of the RHI, we are trying to ensure that the budget offers the best value for money. Solar thermal requires the highest subsidy from the Government of all RHI technologies, and the evidence suggests that nearly 50% of RHI respondents said they would have installed it anyway, even without Government subsidy. We always need to look at the balance between keeping the costs down for the bill payer and supporting these technologies.