The Renewable Energy Association and the Solar Trade Association yesterday delivered a letter and a petition asking the government to rethink its proposals for subsidizing photovoltaic take-up.

The government is proposing to link the solar feed-in tariff (FiT) into the government's energy efficiency scheme, the Green Deal. The changes would mean that houses which fail to reach a certain level of energy efficiency only qualify for a nominal FiT rate of a few pence. Many installers fear that it will wipe out demand for photovoltaics and kill off the industry, say many installers.

Charles Shilston, director at Energy Initiative, says photovoltaic uptake rests on it being an attractive investment option.

"The 50% cuts [in FiT levels] the industry can live with, but making energy efficiency a requirement of eligibility for the full FiT is seen as 'the killer'", said James Beard, a spokesman for the REA.

The FiT scheme for solar PV electricity, which pays property owners for every unit of electricity they generate, will halve from April 2012, assuming the government adopts proposals set out in the ongoing consultation of the FIT scheme.

Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the REA, said: "We are calling on Cameron and Clegg to intervene to ensure a future for solar power beyond 1 April, 2012. The cost of solar is falling so dramatically that in about five years' time it should cost no more to generate one's own solar power than to buy it from an electricity supply company. To get there we need commitment and stability, not boom and bust."