Matt Rodda for Reading East

Standing up for Reading

Solar Power

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It was disappointing to hear the Conservative Energy Secretary Amber Rudd talking about reducing subsidy for solar power on Radio 4's Today Programme this morning.

The report made clear that solar panels have been a considerable success in the UK, with solar producing a record amount of British electricity during July. (I think the report said it was as high as 13 per cent of our electricity generation on one particular day).

The panels are easy to fit, are relatively inexpensive and are a simple and effective way to help reduce global warming and increase our energy security.

Why would any Government not want to support this source of renewable energy?

I do appreciate that there are costs associated with any new energy technology and I am pleased that the take up of solar panels has increased and the panels themselves have come down in price.

However, the panels are still not anywhere near as widespread as they could be which is why it seems sensible to continue to take a cautious approach to reducing subsidies.

The renewables industry has also pointed out that the move could hit the confidence of investors, whose support is needed to increase the renewable energy sector and help it move away from needing subsidies to grow.

I should also say that I strongly support practical steps to improve the use of renewable energy and I am pleased that Reading Borough Council has played a leading role in this locally. It has been one of the councils with the highest level of solar panels on public buildings.

The scale of the work carried out by the council is not always obvious. While some panels can be seen by passers by, others aren't visible from street level, like the solar panels on top of the Cedar Court extra care housing, on Basingstoke Road.

I hope the Government will think carefully about supporting renewable energy and reconsider its policy.

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