Bradford market's solar plans in jeopardy

Plans to build solar panels to power Bradford market and allow it to sell electricity to an energy supplier have been threatened by a slash in feed-in tariff rates.

Bradford market had planned to invest £200,000 in installing solar panels next April that would have generated enough cash to pay for themselves in around nine years.

But climate change minister Greg Barker has struck a blow by announcing energy from panels built after 12 December will be bought for 21p per kWh - less than half of the current 43.3p rate.

Bradford Market’s manager, Colin Wolstenholme, said: “It might change payback from nine years to 18 years. We are looking to see if we can effectively do that.

“We have met with the council’s climate change team and we are going to have to go away and do some number crunching.”

Wolstenholme said it may end up that the project becomes more of a social responsibility plan to meet environmental targets.

“It’s a wobble but we will carry on. The consultants are coming back in a fortnight.

“We’re still keen to aim for April and there’s a chance the government may change things.”

Charity Friends of the Earth is threatening legal action against the government over the decision.

It said: “The government has launched a consultation on its proposals but the deadline for responses is 23 December, nearly two weeks after the new tariffs are to be introduced.

“Friends of the Earth is calling on the government to alter its plans to slash subsidies for households and communities that install solar panels, or face legal action.”