The government’s Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), its eagerly awaited replacement for the soon-to-close export tariff, has been dubbed both a “new era” for solar and a “mountain to climb” as the proposals received a mixed response.

The government has backed the scheme to be transitional for the small-scale renewables sector. Claire Perry, the government’s energy and clean growth minister, said the scheme could help “build a bridge” to the smart energy system of the future, simultaneously placing consumers “firmly at its heart”.

“It could also reduce strain on energy networks with a more decentralised and smarter local network delivering resilience much more cost-effectively, unlocking innovative products for electric vehicles and home energy storage; a win-win for consumers and the environment and a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy,” she said.

On a similar tack, the Renewable Energy Association’s James Court said the scheme could “usher in a new era” for small-scale renewables, remarking how the trade body had strongly supported the implementation of a market-based solution.

But perhaps the most stinging criticism of the proposals came from the shadow cabinet. Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour’s shadow business minister, said that in ending the export tariff without a ready-made replacement, the government was “pushing an already struggling solar industry off a cliff edge”.

“These proposals – which are unlikely to be in place by the time the export tariff closes – present a new mountain for small-scale renewable energy to climb.”

Read more: Solar Power Portal