Over 160 NGOs, academics, energy providers, schools and public institutions including brands such as Sainsbury’s, Kingfisher and IKEA have asked the government to stop the planned rise in business rates for solar panels.

Co-ordinated by the Solar Trade Association (STA) and published on 5th December, the letter claims that changes to the business rates paid on solar power could cause many systems to become uneconomic. The changes could see business rates rise up to eight-fold for companies that own solar panels and use the power generated themselves. The alteration would mean the most efficient use of solar consumption at the point of generation, would be “bizarrely” penalised by the tax system.

This rise is most likely to affect smaller firms because they are less likely to have set up different ownership schemes for their solar panels, as well as public sector organisation including state schools and even hospitals.

Paul Barwell, STA CEO, commented: “The sheer diversity of groups willing to sign this letter demonstrates the breadth of feeling on this issue. Now that the UK has signed the Paris Agreement it goes without saying that the Government should support organisations seeking to reduce their carbon footprints, not penalise them. It is essential that solar energy is treated sensibly within the tax system.”

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