Belfast Telegraph

Solar industry jobs fall by third over last year - survey

The number of jobs in the solar industry has fallen by a third in the last year as installation rates plummeted, analysis suggests.

Surveying of 238 solar industry firms - which make up around 10% of the UK industry - said they employed a total of 3,665 people compared to 5,362 a year ago, a fall of 32%.

Some 30% of solar businesses expect to cut staff in the next 12 months, the analysis from industry body the Solar Trade Association (STA) and PwC found.

If the results were replicated across the industry, job losses over the last year could total 12,500, the STA said.

Solar panel deployment is expected to fall by 75% from an average of 1gigawatt (GW) over the past five years to less than 300MW this year, as the sector is hit by significant government curbs to subsidies.

According to the STA, there is a lack of industrial strategy for the UK solar sector, with just 1% of new renewable energy project expenditure going to solar power under the "feed-in tariffs" subsidy system.

Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said: "The survey shows very regrettable damage to the fabric of the British solar industry and the need for prompt Government action."

She warned that business investors in solar were also set to be hit with a six to eight fold increase in business rates, and urged the Government to reward investment in solar with "sensible" tax breaks.