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The government has lost its high court appeal over its plan to cut subsidies for solar panels on homes.

The appeal was against a High Court ruling blocking government plans to make large reductions to payments made to households with solar panels.

It would have hit customers who installed panels after 12 December.

Under the feed-in tariffs programme, people in Britain with solar panels are paid for the electricity they generate. The government tried to reduce them prior to the results of the consultation being released. The High Court agreed with opponents that this was legally flawed.

The new tariff of 21p per kilowatt-hour, down from the current 43p, had been expected to come into effect from 1 April, but in October the government said it would be paid to anyone who installed their solar panels after 12 December.

Upholding that ruling, the Supreme Court said the government’s appeal “does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court at this time”.

The government said the court’s decision drew a line under the case.

“We will now focus all our efforts on ensuring the future stability and cost effectiveness of solar and other microgeneration technologies for the many, not the few,” said Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

Here at we applaud the High Courts judgment and hope it encourages fairer and better planned legislation from the government In the future when amending renewable energy policy.

The Government has today announced plans to ensure the future of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme to make it more predictable. Transparency, longevity and certainty are at the heart of the new improved scheme.

The reforms will provide greater confidence to consumers and industry investing in exciting renewable technologies such as solar power, anaerobic digestion, micro-CHP, wind and hydro power.

The Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme provides a subsidy, paid for by all consumers through their energy bills, enabling small scale renewable and low carbon technologies to  compete against  higher carbon forms of electricity generation.

The surge of solar PV installations in the latter part of last year, due to a 45% reduction in estimated installation costs since 2009, has placed a huge strain on the FITs budget.

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Today we are announcing plans to improve the Feed-in Tariffs scheme. Instead of a scheme for the few the new improved scheme will deliver for the many. Our new plans will see almost two and a half times more installations than originally projected by 2015 which is good news for the sustainable growth of the industry.  We are proposing a more predictable and transparent scheme as the costs of technologies fall, ensuring a long term, predictable rate of return that will closely track changes in prices and deployment.

“I want to see a bright and vibrant future for small scale renewables in the UK and allow each of the technologies to reach their potential where they can get to a point where they can stand on their own two feet without the need for subsidy sooner rather than later.”


  • A tariff of 21p/kWh will take effect from 1st April this year for domestic-size solar panels with an eligibility date on or after 3rd March 2012. Other tariff reductions apply for larger installations.
  • The Department has listened carefully to feedback on the energy efficiency proposals that we put forward in the consultation of 31st October. Properties installing solar panels on or after 1st April this year will be required to produce an Energy Performance Certificate rating of ‘D’ or above  to qualify for a full FIT. The previous proposals for a ‘C’ rating or a commitment for all Green Deal measures to be installed was seen as impractical at this stage. We estimate that about half of all properties are already eligible for a ‘D’ rating.
  • From 1st April 2012, new ‘multi-installation’ tariff rates set at 80% of the standard tariffs will be introduced for solar PV installations where a single individual or organisation is already receiving FITs for other solar PV installations. This reflects the lower costs of such installations, as they benefit from the economies of scale. Based on the feedback  received, the threshold is set at more than 25 installations. Individuals or organisations with 25 or fewer  installations will still be eligible for the individual rate. DECC is now consulting on a proposal that social housing, community projects and distributed energy schemes be exempt from these multi-installation tariff rates.
  • The tariff for micro-CHP installations will be increased to recognise the benefits this technology could bring and to encourage its development.


  • In line with the evidence of falling costs for solar PV, DECC is proposing to peg the subsidy levels to cost reductions and industry growth to provide more certainty for future investments.  This will ensure that subsidy levels keep in step with the market. It builds on the best of the existing German system and will remove the need for emergency reviews.
  • Using budget flexibility to cover the overspend resulting from high PV uptake this year, while still allowing £460 million for new installations over the Spending Review period. This won’t have any impact on consumer bills beyond the agreed overall cap on renewable subsidies as it will primarily be funded from an under spend on the budget allocated for large-scale renewables.


The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is designed to help

smaller higher-risk trading companies to raise finance by

offering a range of tax reliefs to investors who purchase new

shares in those companies. Companies who are AIM and

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entitlement in the previous tax year can subscribe for up to

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and treat £500,000 as subscribed in the previous year. Over 7

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in 1994. These range from small ‘friends and family’ rounds,

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or fund managers. The number of more professionally

managed EIS funds now is growing and this sector is

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The UK Government has used powers under the Energy Act

2008 to introduce a system of feed in tariffs FIT) to incentivise

small scale, low carbon electricity generation by providing

“clean energy cash back” for householders and expects

an approximate rate of return of up to 8% per annum for

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The Company has secured the purchase of up to 135

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free. This guarantees Tax Free FiT payments for 25 years.

The Company intends to use the money raised by this private

placing to acquire the Systems from Solar Power companies

for £18,000 per System.

However, due to the fantastic returns and the great high take up

of the opportunity the Government has

decided to reduce the Fee in Tariff from 43p to 21p. Again we

planned ahead to secure a further 1,000Premium Solar Systems which

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The Court of Appeal today (Wednesday 25 January 2012) unanimously rejected Government attempts to overturn last month’s High Court ruling that its plans to rush through sudden cuts to solar tariff payments are illegal.

The Government is now seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Friends of the Earth says the move will create yet more uncertainty for solar firms and after two courts have ruled their move illegal is urging Ministers to concentrate on safeguarding the industry rather than wasting more time and money on further appeals.

The High Court ruled shortly before Christmas that Government plans to cut payments for any solar scheme completed after 12 December – 11 days before the official consultation closed – were unlawful. The judgement followed legal challenges brought by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms, Solarcentury and HomeSun, last month.

Today’s judgement will prevent Ministers rushing through cuts to feed-in tariff payments in future, restoring some confidence to the UK’s clean energy industry. But Friends of the Earth warns that unless Ministers change other parts of their solar subsidy proposals, up to 29,000 jobs could be lost.

Friends of the Earth is urging Ministers to find more money – paid for from tax payments the industry generates – to safeguard the long-term stability of the solar industry. The environmental campaigning charity is also calling for crucial amendments to proposed Government solar payment changes, including re-examining over-strict energy efficiency rules that will prevent 90 per cent of houses from claiming solar subsidies.

Today’s ruling means that, subject to any further appeal to the Supreme Court, solar tariff payments will remain at 43.3p (p/kWh) until 3 March 2012 when – following Government moves last week – they will fall to 21 pence.

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

“This landmark judgement confirms that devastating Government plans to rush through cuts to solar payments are illegal – and will prevent Ministers from causing industry chaos with similar cuts in future.

“The Government must now take steps to safeguard the UK’s solar industry and the 29,000 jobs still facing the chop.

“Ministers must abandon plans to tighten the screw on which homes qualify for solar payments – and use the massive tax revenues generated by solar to protect the industry.

“Helping more people to plug into clean British energy will help protect cash-strapped households from soaring fuel bills.”