A COMPANY has hit out against the decision by the Scottish Government to axe a home renewables grant scheme and is urging homeowners to act quickly if they want to make their properties more eco friendly.
Solar Power Scotland, based in Linwood, is a solar panel installation company and said that to date it has installed hundreds of solar panels in homes across Scotland.
The decision to cut the grant now gives people less than two weeks to make an application for financial assistance to install the likes of solar thermal water heating – whereas previously it was expected that the offer would last another six months.
The closing date for the Energy Saving Trust Scotland home renewables grant scheme – an initiative that currently provides homeowners with 30 percent of the cost of installing a renewable heating system at their property, up to a maximum of £4,000 – will be 5.30pm on Friday, July 23.
Energy Minister Jim Mather said the scheme was to end due to “unprecedented demand” for the grants, which have help provide eco-friendly energy at thousands of households in Scotland over the past three years.
But John Conway, operations director for Solar Power Scotland, said the decision will come as a shattering blow to both homeowners who want to go green.
He said: “We had no knowledge, despite being the major provider of solar panels in the Scottish domestic market, that the grant scheme was to be shelved this early.
“It’s very disappointing that the scheme has been stopped, because it is has been an important and successful method of promoting renewable energy to people here in Renfrewshire and across Scotland. Almost 3000 households have taken advantage of the grants and many more could have benefited if they had been available for another year or so.
“What this now means is that anyone planning to install renewable energy system needs to act immediately to contact companies like Solar Power Scotland if they want to take advantage of the funding.
“There are no plans to replace the scheme with similar grants in the future, so this is the last chance for anyone thinking of installing a renewable heating system in their home to get 30% of the cost covered by these grants.”
Mr Mather said: “The uptake of small scale renewables among householders is now unprecedented and the home renewables grants funding is facing pressure.
"The grants scheme will stay open to new applications until the remaining cash is allocated, which at the current rate I expect will be in around three weeks time. In an extremely tight financial climate we will now look to see what further support we can give to small scale renewables.”