Britain’s solar industry is facing devastation and consumers could see energy bills rise after the Chancellor Philip Hammond refused to listen to pleas to cancel a planned tax hike of up to 800 per cent on rooftop solar schemes. The Solar Trade Association described the Government’s refusal to bend over the increase – due to come into force in April – as “nonsensical” and “absurd”. Bizarrely, state schools with solar panels will be forced to pay, while private schools will remain exempt. Mr Hammond barely mentioned the energy sector in his speech – apart from a promise to help the oil and gas industry “maximise exploitation” of the remaining reserves in the North Sea.
Independent 8th March 2017 read more »
Chancellor Philip Hammond has offered nothing to address concerns over the increased business rates applied to properties with solar in his maiden budget delivered earlier today. Pressure has ramped up over the issue with large and small businesses, schools, industry members and trade bodies all joining the campaign against the ‘solar tax hike’ since it was first raised by the Solar Trade Association (STA) last summer. However, speaking today in the Commons, Hammond outlined three measures designed to offset wider concerns over the business rates revaluation regime, none of which stand to directly address the drastic increase on properties with solar.
Solar Portal 8th March 2017 read more »
Herald 9th March 2017 read more »
Today, on International Women’s Day, the women of Deir Kanoun Ras el Ain cooperative in South Lebanon embarked on a quiet revolution. Together with young activists from Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, they completed a solar energy installation that will provide regular and reliable power — and improve women’s lives. The cooperative is proud of their work; making delicious rosewater, apple vinegar, orange sauce, apricot jam, crackers and tomato paste – all without artificial preservatives. But, like many involved in food production, the women work hard for a modest income. Before solar power arrived, machines that help in their work would often lie idle, as the women chose to work themselves harder rather than use the costly diesel generator or an erratic electricity supply. Peeling fruit, making dough and lifting heavy loads by hand is tiring. Some suffer from chronic back pain. Long hours intrude on precious family time. In 2016, the 23-strong cooperative decided it was time for change. Together with Greenpeace Mediterranean-Arab World, they launched a crowdfunding project to install solar power to heat water and power machines to knead dough and squeeze fruit. Today they realised their dream.
Greenpeace 7th March 2017 read more »