Solar PV - proposed cuts to Feed in Tariff

MQT on 2015-09-16
Session date: 
September 16, 2015
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


The Government is proposing to severely cut the Feed in Tariff. Are you looking at the potentially very damaging implications on solar deployment in London?


Answer for Solar PV - proposed cuts to Feed in Tariff

Answer for Solar PV - proposed cuts to Feed in Tariff

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Jenny, I am concerned about the Government’s potential cuts to Feed-in Tariffs.  We are talking to members of all the representative bodies of the solar industry in London looking at what we can do to understand what impact this will have.  There are about 10,000 jobs in the solar industry in London.  Obviously solar panels have gotten cheaper which is the Government’s reason for cutting the feed-in tariffs.  That would be wrong if the cut in the feed-in tariffs actually stops people from investing in solar because it clearly has many attractions. 

Jenny Jones AM:  I am looking for your co-operation here, Mr Mayor. 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  That is my usual habit.

Jenny Jones AM:  That was quite a co-operative answer.  When you say you are talking to people, do you mean you are actually going to draw up a report on the potential loss of jobs, for example?  The cut is 87% in the feed-in tariff; that could be significant.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We are all over this.  Matthew Pencharz [Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy] is very exercised by this indeed and wants to see what we can do with the Government to try to understand the impact.  Before we completely throw our toys out of the pram we want to work out whether it is going to be as damaging as perhaps you are suggesting.

Jenny Jones AM:  There is also the fact that a lot of the schemes were going to be on schools and even churches.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Also on top of all TfL buildings we were going to put them.  We already have quite a lot. 

Jenny Jones AM:  Exactly. 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  And on this roof here.

Jenny Jones AM:  It should have been done in the first place.  Will you look at how many of those schemes might not happen?  That is another impact.  It is not just about jobs.  It is about schemes, long-term costs and so on.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes, we will certainly look at all that.

Jenny Jones AM:  I have been invited by a school in Croydon that was going to go ahead with a solar scheme on their roof and now they cannot because of the Feed-in Tariff being reduced.  Would you come with me to that school to see the impact and actually hear their views first-hand?  If you do not want to come with me you can go on your own.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Jenny, I am always happy to receive an invitation from you, whether you want me to come with you or not.  Why do you not get in touch with my office and we will see what we can do.  I am not making any promises.  Some of the expeditions we go on end in confusion.

Jenny Jones AM:  The fact is the Government has been having this huge bonfire of renewables.  So far you, to my knowledge, have kept quiet about it.  You have just described a possible option of throwing your toys out of the pram.  Is that likely?  Are you going to speak out on this if you can see it is going to impact severely and negatively on London?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We need to understand what the implications will be.  As you know, one of the things we are also concerned about is the zero carbon homes target.  There was a target to build zero carbon homes by 2016.  That has been abandoned.  As you know, we have all sorts of regulations already in City Hall for how much carbon buildings are allowed to emit before we give them planning approval.  We do not want to see those standards attenuated or watered own.  We are working with the Government to make sure we can continue to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and all the rest of it. 

Jenny Jones AM:  That is quite interesting.  This is going to impact on your record as Mayor which none of us wants to see, obviously. 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Do not forget CO2 production is down in this city under my mayoralty, since we are talking about CO2.  It is down by 14% thanks to the technological brilliance of the mayoralty and its various organisations, the changes we have seen to the housing stock and the buildings in London.  We have made huge progress.  I do not want to see that go backwards.  I am sure the Government agrees on that, by the way.

Jenny Jones AM:  I am curious now because I think you are actually going to have to work against the Government.  They seem committed to completely undermining your efforts here in London and also efforts nationally to improve the quality of life for people who want to put solar on their roofs.  They just do not seem to understand the impact it is going to have.  They made these decisions without doing the work.  You might be working against the Government.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am always happy to stick up for London and for London’s environment as you know, Jenny.  That has to be the priority.