In one of my favourite films "A Few Good Men", there is that memorable moment when Kafee has Colonel Jessop on the stand and is asking him if he ordered the code red.
Kaffee to Colonel Jessep: Did you order the Code Red?!
Col Jessep to Kafee: .. You want answers?
Kafee “I want the truth..”
Jessep “You can’t handle the truth”
Jessep at that point makes the blunder and ultimatley shoots himself in the foot.
There are some parallels it seems to the politicians who have dealt such a cruel blow to Solar, in seeking to dissuay the truth, make the PV installer out to be the bad guy, and the householders who already installed PV, part of some rich elite prospering at the expense of the rest of us.
The truth we know is very different. Over the last few weeks since the conference and Greg Barker's announcement of the cut, I have watched with dismay more and more posts of councils cancelling social solar schemes, companies already making job losses and general panic in the midst of people scrambling to meet a wholly unrealistic deadline of December 12th. Even the Church of England has got involved.
It seems that the truth has been hidden in clever talk by politicians.
So what are the Truths for UK Solar?
- The UK solar energy employs 25,000 professionals compared with just 3,000 in 2010
- The number of solar businesses have increased from 450 in 2010 to over 3,000 today (Micro Generation Certification)
- It is estimated that by 2020 the UK Solar energy industry will employ 360,000 people (Solar Revolution Strategy for the UK)
- Since the introduction of tariffs in 2010 a total of 87,769 solar installations have been completed in the UK (FIT register)
- The energy generation of solar power now exceeds the amount generated by a single nuclear powerplant. The total solar energy generated by solar in the UK is 312 megawatts compared with the 225 megawatts maximum operating capacity of the Oldbury nuclear power plant (FIT register; Reuters)
- The current cost of the tariff per household is less than a pound annually (Kingspan)
- The proposed cut to the feed-in tariff (Financial Times) would deprive the UK of a booming green industry that is driving jobs growth and providing an environmentally sustainable and long term alternative to other fossil-fuel dependent methods of electricity
- It is estimated that within six to eight years solar will not need to be subsidised providing current support of the industry is maintained (Solar Revolution Strategy for the UK)
- Solar puts the power to generate energy directly in the hands of millions of people, rather than a handful of energy companies
And while it is generally accepted that the Feed-in tariff rate needs to be checked - the solar lobby has been urging the government to do so as far back as May this year - reductions need to be made through a measured and gradual process that the industry could be confident in. This inexplicable knee-jerk reaction suggests a deeper agenda and perhaps some in government who are not at all concerned if the solar industry is killed off.
The overwhelming undeniable truth that our 'greenest ever government can't seem to handle is that solar in the UK is a massive opportunity that is in danger of being struck a lethal blow by this particular "code red".
I urge you now to join and lend support to the Our Solar Future campaign .
And I hope to see you on November 22nd, full details of the Rally can be found here.