Industry leaders have welcomed comments by Energy Minister Claire Perry which they believe may signal a possible U-turn over support for small-scale renewables.

Perry told Parliament in a statement that she will “shortly” be announcing the “next steps” for the sector and in response to questions said she “completely agreed” that solar power should not be provided to the grid for free.

Her comments came amid lobbying by industry over plans to end both the export and generation tariff as part of the closure of the Feed-in Tariff scheme next April.

“That’s why I’ll shortly be announcing the next steps for small-scale renewables,” she added.

She said the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme – which comes to an end in April 2019 – had been a “huge success”, but said it had cost billpayers more than £4.5 billion so far and is forecast to add a further £2bn a year to bills for at least a decade.

Perry added that a “string of private sector subsidy-free solar funds” are preparing to launch.

Questions over the export tariff

Chris Hewett, Chief Executive at the Solar Trade Association (STA), welcomed Perry’s comments but added: “As ever the devil is in the detail, so we now need to see the proposals and make sure they are in place from April 2019, but this is a good day for solar installers and prospective rooftop solar owners.”

James Court, Policy & External Affairs Director at the Renewable Energy Association (REA), added: “The feed-in tariff has been a stand out success, and has led to huge cost reductions.

“Cancelling the export tariff though would be a significant blow, for industry, for consumers, and for the UK if we are to meet our climate commitments.”

> See the STA's statement in full