Shadow minister visits hotel to see benefits of solar power

Caroline Flint, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change visiting the White Rock Hotel, Hastings. Pictured with Caroline are Catherine Parr, Laurence Bell and Sarah Owen
Caroline Flint, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change visiting the White Rock Hotel, Hastings. Pictured with Caroline are Catherine Parr, Laurence Bell and Sarah Owen

A SHADOW minister has visited Hastings to see how the area was benefiting from solar energy and how it could be under threat from the Government’s tariff change.

Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, went to The White Rock Hotel, which recently installed £50,000 worth of solar panels, as well as Southwater Community Centre in St Leonards, which powers its facility using solar power. She met general manager Laurence Bell and owner Catherine Parr. She also visited the Colexon Solar warehouse in Rye where panels are made.

Sarah Owen, Labour parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, said: “It was great to hear first-hand from businesses and the community the potential there is in Hastings and Rye for a green local economy to provide jobs and growth.

“But the Government’s decision to scrap its feed-in tariff is putting this in danger. It’s not just affecting local businesses and jobs but also tenants in the town who could have saved a £190 a year if AmicusHorizon hadn’t been forced to cancel its plan to install solar panels. Ms Flint said Hastings was one of the areas hardest hit by the Government’s cuts

She said: “The solar industry is one sector that is actually growing and creating jobs.”

Andreas Schoenberg, UK country manager for Colexon, said: “The six-week deadline to December 12, 2011 and the insistence on the limited nature of the funds available have discouraged the development of a sustainable, innovative solar industry with important job creation potential.”

“On the employment benefits of solar power, the UK seems to be missing an opportunity. According to the German solar power trade association BSW, around 130,000 full-time jobs have been created in Germany over the past decade.”