The government has sent the “wrong signal” to British businesses with their rollback of green energy pledges and risks undermining confidence in the renewables sector, warned the boss of a UK-based solar technology specialist.
Christophe Williams, chief executive of Naked Energy, told City A.M. he wanted the government to be “ambitious” but that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was instead signalling to investors that the UK was “behind” rival markets such as the European Union and the US when it came to clean energy projects.
He said: “For any investor, you want to know that the government are being ambitious, and consistent with their policy. From last week, we can see that that’s not happening.”
The solar chief confirmed the company still wanted to have a “huge impact in the UK,” but if the government lacked ambition to shift the country’s energy needs from gas to renewables, he pledged to “keep our eye” on other markets which are taking a more radical approach for reaching net zero.
His comments follow Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to delay the ban on new petrol and diesel cars and the shift from fossil fuel boilers to heat pumps and clean energy solutions.
Meanwhile, there have been sustained concerns in the domestic renewables sector of companies exiting the market, following the unveiling of the US Inflation Reduction Act last year – promising vast subsidies to green technology companies – with the EU also reforming state aid rules to help lure projects to the continent.
“To rollback just sends totally the wrong signal to British and international investors that want to invest in the UK economy. That’s not what growth companies, particularly in the clean tech sector, need right now,” Williams warned.
Naked Energy has today initiated a £30m Series B fundraiser for its solar heat and panel products – aimed at generating power and warming up buildings.
While Williams was still considering a listing as an option in the UK “at some point”, he was now targeting European and North American investors as “hunting grounds” to support international expansion plans.
The firm has received backing from Barclays, Nesta and ELM and has appointed Piper Sandler to lead the fundraising.
City A.M. has approached the government for comment.