Government loses solar appeal
Solar plans still judged to be illegal
There has been a second legal victory against the Government's solar plans. On January 25th, the Court of Appeal upheld the original High Court decision last month that the government had acted unlawfully in proposing cuts to feed-in tariffs for solar installations completed after December 12 last year, on the grounds the consultation on the proposed changes to the scheme did not close until December 23.
On 21 December, the High Court ruled that the reduction in Fits was “legally flawed”, following a legal challenge by environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth and two solar companies, Solarcentury and HomeSun.
Fits are payments made to households, communities and businesses that generate green electricity through solar panels. The Department of Energy and Climate Change wants to reduce the tariffs for domestic solar PV schemes from 43.3p per kilowatt hour to 21p.
Today’s ruling means that any Solar PV installations installed, commissioned and registered between 12 December last year and 3 March this year will receive the higher Fits rate of 43.3p for the next 25 years.
Customers who register on or after 3 March will qualify for the higher rate until 1 April when it will drop to 21p.
The full consultation on the Fit rates for solar and other technologies is due for release on February 9, which should give a clear picture of the rates from April this year and beyond.
The consultation will confirm whether or not homes considering an installation from April will need an Energy Performance Certificate of Grade C or above to claim the top Fit payment – or be subject to a much lower rate. This stringent EPC requirement for homes would price the majority of the population out of even considering an investment in solar technology.
The Government could seek a second appeal at the Supreme Court.
Friends of the Earth is asking supporters to add their name to their Director's letter to David Cameron asking him to accept the ruling protect solar jobs and ensure a thriving green industry.
Check out our buyers' guide to Solar Panels to see who comes out top.