I read today's Guardian with absolute despair. Up until recently it was possible for public buildings, such as schools, hospitals and museums to apply to the Department of Energy and Climate Change for grants to help cover part of the cost of the installation of renewable technologies. There was a funding of £50,000,000 for this, and it was split up into the various different technologies. However, recently the last of the money for solar photovoltaic systems was used up, and there will be no more funding until at least the summer.
This is even more amazing as the article goes on to say that there is excess money which was supposed to be used for other renewable technologies, but is unlikely to due to lack of demand.
This seems like madness to me, as one of the key goals of providing funding for grants is to improve the take-up of renewable schemes, thus providing jobs and hopefully leading to better efficiencies with the supply of these technologies, leading to lower costs to the consumer. However, as the grant supply has run out is likely that there will be a dramatic reduction in the installation of photovoltaic schemes, both because many schemes will now be classed as unviable whereas with a grant they were, and even those that are viable without a grant may be delayed until there is once a again more support. This will lead to a lot less demand for photovoltaic systems, and as a result many companies which deal with the supply of such technologies will need to reduce in size to survive, most likely through redundancies, which is the last thing that is needed in a recession. This will also likely to lead to a boom and bust cycle, as when the next round of financial support is provided there will be a lot of pent up demand, leading to a great need for companies to expand rapidly. In this rapid expansion process there is a chance of less reputable companies and individuals entering the business, which is damaging for the whole industry.
For these reasons, I personally feel that it is madness to stop the grants. Considering how much has been spent bailing out other industries, the required money needed to continue the grants until the summer is relatively nothing, and it will help to keep the green jobs revolution which politicians like to talk so much about going.