Red tape delays multi-billion solar panel deal

Hundreds of skilled jobs are under threat as a result of hold ups in a multi-billion pound deal between a Barnsley business and the Turkish government.

Solar Europa, which specialises in photovoltaic (PV) systems and infrastructure, is currently negotiating a contract with the Turkish government that is believed to be worth around £2bn.

However, the deal has been left in limbo due to Whitehall “red tape”, Dan Jarvis MP warned.

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The Barnsley Central MP said a stall in the signing of an agreement between the UK and Turkish governments means the contract cannot be finalised.

Mr Jarvis raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, asking Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Jarvis said deal would be a huge boost to the economy.

“Solar Europa have been working for years to secure an international contract to manufacture millions of solar panels in Barnsley,” he said.

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“This contract would deliver billions of pounds of investment and hundreds of good, skilled jobs.

“Negotiations with the Turkish government have been progressing well, but now the deal is at risk of collapsing because of problems in Whitehall.

“David Cameron promised to give every support when the company met with him two years ago, now he needs to keep his word.”

The situation is putting 300 “skilled, well-paying jobs” on the line, Mr Jarvis added.

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Following Mr Jarvis’ appeal, Mr Cameron said UK Trade and Industry (UKTI), the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Foreign Office had so far provided assistance.

He said: “We want to promote all projects that can create jobs in the UK and benefit relations with international partners.”

The Prime Minister committed to look into the matter.

David Hawkins, chief executive of Solar Europa, said the firm is “very grateful” for the support it has been given.

“Negotiations are still ongoing, but if they are successful the contract will bring hundreds of jobs to the UK,” he added.

Solar Europa was founded in 2008. Its International business has offices in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.