December 6 (SeeNews) - More than 160 groups have signed a letter asking the UK's Chancellor to stop a hike in business rates for self-consumption solar power, the Solar Trade Association (STA) said on Monday.
Business rates on solar installations are due to increase six to eight fold from April 2017 for organisations that own solar panels and use the power themselves. Companies that export their power will not be affected. The STA said the change will most likely impact smaller companies, which are less likely to use different ownership schemes for the panels, as well as public sector buildings such as schools and hospitals.
The signatories to the letter include big brands such as Sainsbury's, Ikea and Kingfisher PLC, as well as campaigning groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, the Federation of Small Businesses, politicians and academics.
"The sheer diversity of groups willing to sign this letter demonstrates the breadth of feeling on this issue," said STA chief executive Paul Barwell. "Now that the UK has signed the Paris Agreement it goes without saying that the Government should support organisations seeking to reduce their carbon footprints, not penalise them," he added.