Solar sector ‘strangled’ by subsidy cuts

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CUTTING the price paid for electricity produced by solar panels will “strangle the industry at birth”, opposition politicans last night warned.

Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker confirmed that the coalition government will reduce the amount paid to households and businesses that sell their own power to the national grid from 43.3p per kilowatt hour to just 21p for panels installed after 12 December.

Details of the proposal emerged last week, forcing Barker to make yesterday’s emergency statement to the House of Commons.

Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint warned: “With growth flatlining everywhere else, today’s announcement actually threatens to strangle at birth the solar industry.”

She claimed the sector employed 25,000 people in 3,000 firms, up from 3,000 staff at 450 groups last year.