Solar subsidy cut hits Sidford Social Hall

DRAMATIC government cuts in solar energy subsidies will leave Sidford Social Hall out of pocket.

Leaders at the village hub are still positive photovoltaic panels on its roof will benefit the facility when they are installed next year.

But the venue will now only receive half the amount of money, from selling surplus power to the National Grid, organisers expected to be paid when they decided to have the panels. Government ministers moved to cut feed-in tariff subsidies - payments made to households and communities that generate green electricity through solar panels - on any installations completed after Monday last week, instead of April 2012.

Colin Kingman, treasurer at Sidford Social Hall, said a delay forming a funding package for 16 panels, combined with the government move, will ultimately cost the venue �600-a-year.

Mr Kingman said: “We’re still going to have it done in February and we’re still getting a benefit. It will make a big difference – we think it will generate us around �600-a-year. It would have been �1,200 so it is considerably less.”

The Herald reported how Sidbury Village Hall will be boosted by solar power after 16 photovoltaic panels were installed on the roof of the hub. Work was completed by Ford and Sons contractors in time to benefit from the higher solar subsidy tariff. Roger Davey, Sidbury Village Hall chairman, said the panels will produce an income of around �1,800 per year.

Mike Ford, director of Ford and Sons, said he was “dismayed” at the government’s decision to bring forward the tariff deadline.

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