As moves to build a solar energy park on the Lizard gather pace, fears have been raised that the plug could be pulled on plans for large-scale projects in Cornwall.

Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, has said he was considering bringing forward a review on Feed-in tariffs, which set the amount of money renewable energy producers get for their power Under the tarrifs, green power producers that connect to the national grid by April 2012 will receive a guaranteed index linked tariff for electricity they export to the grid.

However with only a finite amount of cash available the Mr Barker said that they would not allow hard won funding to be "scooped up by a few industrial scale PV farms" at the expense of the domestic or small business installations.

Mr Barker said: "The coalition Government is committed to an ambitious roll out of the widest possible range of domestic and community scale renewables, but there is a potential problem.

"The fact is we inherited a system from the previous administration that simply failed to anticipate the potential for industrial scale stand alone, green-field solar. While we will not act retrospectively, large green-field based solar farms will not be allowed to distort the available funding for domestic solar technologies.

"We want to see an ambitious roll out of solar panels on Britain’s roof space but not all over the countryside. I will not allow the hard won available funding to be scooped up by a few industrial scale PV farms at the expense of the domestic or small business installations," said Mr Barker.

He added that investors who have recently been pouring over the West Country looking for sites to build large PV farms should look elsewhere, saying that "speculators and hot money should find another home for their investments".

Adrian Wright, chief executive of Cornish-based renewable energy provider Enact said that the commitment to use the Feed in Tariffs for domestic and small business Solar PV would bring longer term benefits to the West Country.

“It is clear that large-scale solar farms are not supported by the Government so it is likely that we will see some form of change in the legislation to make them either more difficult to build by restricting them to brown field sites or through reducing the subsidy for larger installations to make them less appealing to investors’.

“However, by discouraging large solar farms from eating up substantial chunks of the solar Feed in Tariff subsidy, it will leave a lot more money for people in the South West to take advantage of having a domestic or small business solar energy system fitted, which is what it was originally intended for,” he said.

“This in turn will create a larger number of jobs in the region and will ensure that the benefits of solar power are kept here rather than seeing profits taken out by investors who are often based overseas and may bring in contractors from abroad,” he said.

The news comes as Cornwall Council has said they are preparing for a "solar power gold rush" and that photo-voltaic solar power developments could lead to up to £1 billion of investment for the county. Cornwall Council says that over 40 companies have expressed an interest in developing ‘solar farms’ in Cornwall and a dozen companies have indicated to the council their intention to put in planning applications. It said that in total up to 100 planning applications are anticipated and on average each development would represent a potential investment of up to £10 million.

Julian German, Cornwall Council cabinet member for Climate Change and the Environment, said: "We have always been aware that the funding for the Feed in Tariff is finite. The recent comments from the minister do not affect our plans to encourage solar power development on the ground and on roofs in Cornwall."

Among these solar parks is one on land at Newquay Airport, backed by Cornwall Council and a firm behind a bid to build Cornwall’s a solar energy park at Goonhilly is currently asking the public for their views.

The first solar park has already been given the thumbs up for a four-hectare site at the former Wheal Jane mine site near Truro. In total there have been six full applications.

Plans, presented to the public at the Goonhilly Open Day on Saturday, December 4, are for the installation of a solar energy park with a capacity of between 3 and 5MW of electricity, occupying an area of 10 to 26hectares near the six new wind turbines.

Neil Harris, of Truro based renewable energy developer, REG Windpower said: "It is the perfect renewable energy mix as Goonhilly gets plenty of wind and Cornwall is the sunniest area of Britain, with the highest levels of global irradiation in the whole of the UK.

"We have sufficient land to allow design solutions that minimise any environmental impacts, the solar panels are only 2.5m high so will be well hidden by the surrounding woodland and a great feature of these panels is that the local sheep will be able to continue to graze around them once they are installed."

The proposed project falls within the parishes of Cury and Mawgan-in-Meneage.

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Cornwall Council by next spring and construction would take between six and nine months.