A SCOTTISH renewables expert is to meet with Energy Minister Claire Perry to discuss Government policy changes that could have a lasting impact on the future cost benefits of solar panels in the UK.

George Goudsmit of solar panel company AES Solar based in Forres in Moray, is to meet with Perry after local MP Douglas Ross visited its premises and arranged the meeting to discuss the impact of policy changes that will come about in March.

He said: “We put a lot of time and effort into lobbying both the Scottish and UK Governments for the benefit of the industry, customers and our environment. We are solar energy specialists, it’s all we do so it is critical that we campaign for fair and sensible policies and we will communicate that to Claire Perry when we meet.”

Currently, the feed-in tariff provides a payback for excess energy solar customers generate. If the tariff is removed, as it is proposed in March, these customers could end up supplying large energy companies with power free of charge, which in turn could be sold back to the public, with no benefit to the customer who generated it.

Perry told the House of Commons that “it would be wrong to have power provided to the grid for free”. However, Goudsmit said the plan to remove the export tariff remains with no alternative proposed.

Ross visited the company in December. He said: “A Government consultation is now under way looking into suppliers paying small-scale green electricity generators for the electricity they put into the national grid.

“I was keen to raise this with the Energy Minister following an excellent visit I had to Forres-based AES Solar recently. I sought reassurances from Claire Perry that the responses to this consultation would be listened to, after 91% of respondents to a previous consultation by her department were opposed to the ending of export tariffs, yet it looks like this will go ahead. I was also keen to get the minister to meet with AES Solar to learn more about the great work they are doing and listen to their concerns and I am glad she has agreed to this meeting.”

Perry said she believed the era of crude subsidies was over and added: “We are trying to ensure we bring forward the centralised energy that we believe is so important to this system going forward and I would be very interested in his and his constituents’ views.”

Goudsmit said: “We agree with the minister that ‘crude tariffs’ are long gone. All we want is clarity for our customers about how the export tariff will look and when we can expect it to be in place.”