The findings of a recent PWC and Solar Trade Association (STA) survey have revealed that one third of solar jobs have been lost in the past year and a further 30% of solar businesses expect to cut staff in the next 12 months.
The survey highlighted a 32% fall in the number of people employed by solar industry firms as the 238 surveyed said they collectively employed 3,665 people now compared to 5,362 a year ago.
Four in 10 firms are being forced to either exit the solar market entirely or diversify into other markets to keep their heads above water.
Extrapolating the survey findings across the UK solar industry, the figure for job losses over the past year could exceed 12,500 which accounts for around one third of previous total employment in the solar industry.
Solar deployment this year is expected to experience a 75% fall from an average of 1GW of the past five years to less than 300MW this year.
Responding to the announcement of the launch of the new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the STA says this represents a very welcome opportunity to take a strategic approach to a winning and relatively cheap technology.
Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said:
“The survey shows very regrettable damage to the fabric of the British solar industry and the need for prompt Government action. Shockingly, since we undertook the survey, business investors in solar are set to be hit with a 6-8-fold rise in business rates.
“We urge new Ministers, rather than increase the tax burden of going solar, to please reward investment with sensible solar tax breaks consistent with action on climate change. International experience of tax breaks is solid, and the industry is clearly behind this.
“There are many good economic reasons to back the British solar industry including minimising the cost of decarbonising our power supply to retain competitiveness, while creating exceptionally large numbers of jobs. Our economy faces a major challenge post Brexit; if we want to prosper in future we must strengthen the UK stake in booming global markets – they don’t come bigger than solar.”