Posts tagged with: DECC

Government plans to rush through cuts to solar tariff payments are illegal, the High Court ruled today (Wednesday 21 December), following a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms – Solarcentury and HomeSun.

The court agreed that proposals to cut feed-in tariff payments for any solar scheme completed after 12 December – 11 days before the official consultation closed – were unlawful.

Friends of the Earth is urging the Government to come up with a new proposal which would allow solar payments to fall in line with reduced installation costs, while ensuring the solar industry continues to play a key part in developing a cleaner future.

The environmental campaigning charity is also calling for more money to encourage solar installations – paid for by the revenue the industry raises for the Treasury, the removal of planned restrictions that would prevent poorer households from installing solar panels and more support for community-owned schemes.

The Government’s own independent advisors say the economy must be weaned off of increasingly expensive fossil fuels like gas by investing in clean energy and slashing energy waste. Friends of the Earth’s Final Demand campaign is urging the Government to launch an investigation into the role of the Big Six energy firms in stopping people in Britain having energy we can all afford.

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

“These botched and illegal plans have cast a huge shadow over the solar industry, jeopardising thousands of jobs.

“We hope this ruling will prevent Ministers rushing through damaging changes to clean energy subsidies – giving solar firms a much-needed confidence boost.

“Ministers must now come up with a sensible plan that protects the UK’s solar industry and allows cash-strapped homes and businesses to free themselves from expensive fossil fuels by plugging into clean energy.”

“Solar payments should fall in line with falling installation costs but the speed of the Government’s proposals threatened to devastate the entire industry.”

As the Government’s solar energy Feed in Tariff is reduced to 21p per kilowatt generated, and the 2012 deadline brought forward; consumers have been left confused as to what this means for the future of solar energy in the UK.


Save Energy Renewables, part of the Save Energy Group, has been in the renewable energy sector since 2002, long before the government feed in tariff was introduced in April 2010.  The introduction of the tariff, at 41p per kilowatt generated, was designed to kick start the take up of renewable energy in the UK and bring us in line with leading European countries such as Germany.  In its second year the tariff increased to 43.3p, but was widely regarded by the industry as high and unlikely to sustain.


The tariff is reviewed on an annual basis and was due to change again from March 31st 2012, with much speculation as to what that might be.  The announcement came on the 31st October that the new figure would be reduced to 21p, however, what the industry was not expecting was the 12th December 2011 cut off point – fast-tracked from the original 2012 deadline.  Therefore, only solar PV systems installed and commissioned by this date would be eligible for the 43.3p tariff.  This put an unprecedented strain on the renewable energy industry, and will almost certainly result in many smaller companies, or those with a less than perfect infrastructure going out of business.


As to why this date was brought forward, lies heavily in the surge for ‘free solar’ with companies setting up to take advantage of the tariff by renting roof space from consumers who benefited from reduced energy bills, while they reap earnings from the tariff for the next twenty five years.  The budget put in place to assist homeowners simply ran out.


The new tariff rate of 21p is now set at a sustainable level for the long term. It will ensure the tariff is available for its predicted lifespan, until the cost of the energy rises to meet the percentage that can be earned through the tariff – namely grid parity.   Steve Randall, Sales & Marketing Director: “This is extremely good news and represents a very healthy 8-10% increasing return on investment for those who choose renewable energy as the way forward.  It also represents twice what can be achieved by the high street banks.  As a business we count ourselves among the lucky ones, with a strong infrastructure both logistically and financially.  As we have been in the business for over a decade we also have strong buying power with suppliers, savings we can pass to our customers.”


Solar energy has been embraced by the UK for many years due to the inevitable savings on energy bills.  The fact that the cost of energy will only rise will see consumers continue to do so with the added benefit of the feed in tariff which is all the more attractive here in the South which enjoys far longer hours of daylight than the North.


Steve Randall concludes:  “The best way for consumers to judge whether solar energy is for them is to look at their electricity bill today, and multiply that by the life of the tariff which is twenty five years.  The option is rent your energy at a rising cost per year, or take ownership of it today. There is further good news in the marketplace as we have seen product prices lower and level out, so when visitors come to our showroom we are able to share more attractive pricing terms.




Yesterday saw an explosion in productivity at the rumor mill regarding the solar energy Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and it’s impending review. With sources from all over the industry and high exposure media such as Financial Times jumping on board the scaremongering bandwagon, let’s take stock once again and remember the facts of where we are up to.

To read the full article, click here.

The Feed-in Tariff Review

As we understand it, the Comprehensive Spending Review championing the government’s budget overhaul into spending includes a review of the solar FiT. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is the authority on this matter, and only their official release will bring about the changes and outline to what extent cuts will be made.

One thing that figures from Ofgem are highlighting is that installation rates are much higher than what they anticipated. The current rates cannot be sustained at this exponential growth level. The boom is most certainly in full swing, and the bust now appears to be approaching in all its foreboding and unstoppable glory.

“Unless Earlier Action is Deemed Necessary”

The DECC, in speaking with industry sources has released the following statement:

“As we’ve previously said, all tariffs in the scheme are being considered in the Comprehensive Review and we will be consulting on proposals later this year. We’ve made clear that tariffs will remain unchanged until April 2012 unless the review indicates the need for greater urgency. There has been no announcement about the review so any rumors about its content are just that, rumours and speculation.” (Source)

In simple terms, nothing has changed at this point and we are no closer to understanding exactly when they will. The media storm has cracked through the sky, but the underlying realities of our situation remain. There is little doubt that the review will decrease the FiT rate by some extent, and also increasingly less doubt that the changes will be brought about before April 2012.

The only concrete truths the industry has to offer are that if you’re installed prior to the changes you will receive an enviable rate on your solar power for many, many years. If you do not, you won’t.

Written by Jarrah Harburn

T: 0844 567 9835

© Solar Selections Pty Ltd 2011



Commenting on publication today of a safety review of the UK nuclear industry following the Fukushima crisis in Japan earlier this year, Friends of the Earth’s energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said:

“This report does nothing to alter the Alice-in-Wonderland economics of nuclear power – it’s a gamble we don’t need to take.

“After more than five decades of nuclear generation the industry still relies on huge public subsidy, while solar is set to operate without taxpayer support within a decade.

“Getting tough on energy waste and plugging in to the UK’s vast green power potential will meet our energy needs and build the new job and business opportunities our economy is crying out for.”