Solar Farms Get Millions More in Taxpayer Handouts Than They Make Selling Electricity

  • Date: 13/05/19
  • Daily Mail

Ten of UK’s biggest solar farms pocketed £3million plus in eco subsidies last year

Total cost of providing subsidies to renewables market is estimated at £7billion

The plants were encouraged to get off the ground with generous handouts 

solar subsidies

Britain’s biggest solar farms get more money in taxpayer subsidies than they make from selling the electricity they produce.

The plants were encouraged to get off the ground with generous handouts, funded from ‘green taxes’ on fuel bills.

Now many of them make the majority of their cash from the subsidies.

Some farms have been snapped up by private firms, venture capitalists and pension funds which realise they are guaranteed money-spinners, in part because of the Government-backed handouts.

But critics say the system, which often guarantees the handouts for 15 or 20 years, has been way too generous and skewed the energy market – leading to bigger household electricity bills.

Dr John Constable, director of charity Renewable Energy Foundation, which publishes data on the energy sector, said: ‘The legacy entitlements are costing consumers dearly and will continue to do so for many years to come.

‘In order to remain internationally competitive, the UK needs to scrape every barnacle off the hull of the economy – retrospective cuts to renewables subsidies cannot be ruled out.’

Ten of the UK’s biggest solar farms pocketed £3million or more each in eco subsidies in 2017/18, statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) reveal.

The total cost of providing subsidies to the renewables market is estimated at around £7billion – of which about £1billion filters through to solar energy.

Treasury officials ended new subsidies to solar farms in 2014 but existing farms are still guaranteed generous handouts until the end of their contracts.

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