Wed 9 Mar 2011
Secretary of State Chris Huhne MP is questioned about his decision to review Feed-in tariffs for solar above 50kWp. He claims there is a ‘gold rush’ in solar in the UK, despite the market being a thousanth of the size of Germanys. He also demonstrates a deep lack of understanding of size, saying 50kWp (half the size of the schools solar system covered by Channel 4 below) is “massive” pv, the size of 1500 small systems. The correct number is 20.
Hillier on Huhne’s gaffe
Shadow Energy Secretary Meg Hillier MP drew attention to Chris Huhne’s solar PV 50 kW gaffe in the Commons earlier today. Her intervention was as follows:
Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch) (Lab/Co-op): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On Channel 4 news yesterday evening, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change described 50 kW as “an enormous amount of power. That’s the equivalent of 1,500 domestic roofs.” That is just plain wrong, and either this is startling incompetence by the Government or they have based their review of solar feed-in tariffs on a completely false premise. The review is already causing uncertainty; these comments make it worse. I wonder, Mr Speaker, whether you can use your good offices to ensure that the Secretary of State clarifies the Government’s position to this House and to the public as quickly as possible.
Mr Speaker: As the hon. Lady knows—and as far as I am concerned, this is very fortunate—the content of ministerial statements or answers is not a matter for the Chair. If a Minister has made an incorrect statement, there is a procedure for setting the record straight, and that will be well known to all members of the Treasury Bench. Meanwhile, the hon. Lady has put her concerns and her interpretation of the facts very clearly on the record, and that statement and interpretation will have been heard by Ministers.