Subsidies paid to solar farms in the UK will come under review by ministers within weeks, Whitehall sources have told the Guardian.
There are around 200 solar photovoltaic farms around the UK, whose owners are paid thousands of pounds under the renewable obligation scheme. The payments are levied from household energy bills.
Solar farms have proven controversial in some individual cases, with a councillor in Devon likening them to concentration camps and comedian Griff Rhys Jones fighting a high-profile campaign against one outside Ipswich, but government polling shows it is one of the most popular energy technologies, with around 80% public support.
Payments are expected to be cut for the larger ground-mounted schemes that have been built on farmland, former airfields and other sites. “We don’t want the whole solar sector damaged by a few solar farms that communities don’t want,” a Whitehall source told the Guardian.
Greg Barker, the climate minister, was reported by the Daily Mail as wanting to cut the payments. Barker, announcing the government’s solar strategy earlier this month, told the Guardian: “I do not want solar farms to become the new onshore wind. I do not want to see unrestricted growth of solar farms in the British countryside.”