Schools and Businesses To Be Hit By Solar Hike

Publication date: 15th December 2016

The government is set to knock solar power yet again with planned business rate hikes of up to 8 times what they currently are. 

Public sector organisations such as schools and businesses who have invested in solar panels, will be affected by unexpected tax hikes. The industry fears that people will be deterred from installing solar panels in the future.

Recent government funding cuts have already caused more than ten thousand job losses in the UK. A report by PwC earlier this year put solar sector job losses at more than 12,000 – representing a third of industry jobs. The Guardian reported that four in 10 companies were considering leaving the solar market entirely.

A broad range of major business leaders, politicians, energy executives and environmental experts (including retail giants Sainsbury’s, IKEA and Kingfisher), have urged the Chancellor Philip Hammond to reconsider this sudden and significant tax rise that would further jeopardise the solar industry at a time when the government should be investing in renewable energy.

Campaigners argue that a year on from the Paris Agreement, the government should be striding ahead with investment in UK solar power, not curbing the industry with unmanageable tax hikes.

Kate Blagojevic, Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said:

“Solar technology has great potential for the UK energy mix, offering new jobs, investment opportunities, and clean and competitively priced energy. But while other countries are making great progress in harnessing the sun’s energy, the UK government is dragging its feet. Renewable energy will be vital to the UK meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and we need solar champions like schools and businesses to lead the way. By hitting them with unfair tax hikes, and penalising them for taking positive action, ministers are condemning the solar revolution before it even gets going.”


Mike Cherry, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“The inclusion of solar panels in the business rates calculation could leave small businesses with a rooftop solar installation facing a huge eight-fold tax hike.  For many small firms who may have already been impacted by recent changes to low carbon subsidies, this is an extra financial burden that they will struggle to cope with.”

Fiona Byrne, Teacher and Volunteer at St Luke’s Primary, Brighton, said:

“Our school community decided to install solar panels because it made financial sense.  We are extremely proud of our achievement and feel we’re doing our bit to help the environment, fight climate change and show our students that we can all do our bit. The money we’ve saved is funding new library books, school trips and more playground equipment. It’s a vital bit of income for us.  The thought that we’ll now have to pay £270 for business rates on panels we’ve now had for almost two years will disappoint hundreds of children in our school and directly reduce future opportunities. It’s incredibly unjust to be punished for doing the right thing.”


For interviews and comments contact Alexandra Sedgwick, Greenpeace UK Press 07773 043 386.