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Friends of the Earth is urging Ministers to focus on putting the solar industry back on a stable footing after Energy Minister Greg Barker confirmed via Twitter today (Tuesday 3 January 2012) that the Government has decided to try to appeal a ruling that its solar cuts are illegal – at a potentially huge cost to taxpayers.

The green campaigning charity said the Government must introduce a clear plan to reduce solar power payments in line with falling installation costs, rather than prolonging industry uncertainty and jeopardising jobs by pursuing an expensive legal appeal.

Following a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms Solarcentury and HomeSun just before Christmas, the High Court ruled that the Government’s plans to rush through sudden cuts to solar payments – before its own consultation had ended – were illegal.

The court refused permission for an appeal on the basis that the Government has no realistic prospect of winning. The deadline for lodging an appeal is 4pm tomorrow, 4 January 2012.

Friends of the Earth is also calling on Ministers to reduce tariff rates in a planned way from February 2012 to protect jobs, and to increase the overall budget for the feed-in tariff to allow more people – including poorer households and community groups – to benefit from solar power.  The group says this is possible without any additional cost to bill payers because of the increased tax revenue the scheme is generating.

Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said:

“The Government’s illegal cuts to solar tariff rates have near-crippled an industry and threatened thousands of jobs.

“Trying to appeal the High Court’s ruling is an expensive waste of taxpayers’ money – the court says the Government has no realistic chance of winning, and it will prolong uncertainty among solar companies just when they need reassurance.

“Ministers should accept the High Court’s decision and end business uncertainty and protect jobs with a clear plan to reduce payments from February, in line with falling installation costs.

“The Government must expand the scheme overall – with all the tax revenue the scheme generates, this can be done at no extra cost to bill payers.”

Join us in lobbying Parliament on 22nd November.

An urgent message from the UK solar industry.
Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk within the next few weeks.
View our campaign video here,
The Big Solar Backtrack.

Join here at www.oursolarfuture.org.uk
In 2007 David Cameron pledged his support for feed-in tariffs for renewable energy. On the 31st October 2011 his government slashed feed-in tariffs by 50%. This move threatens 4,000 businesses and tens of thousands of solar jobs in the UK. David, do you believe in green growth or not? ‘Cut, don’t kill solar’, support our solar future at www.oursolarfuture.org.uk

 

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

jarrah@solarselections.co.uk

T: 0844 567 9835

© Solar Selections Pty Ltd 2011

 

 

The early review of the UK solar feed-in tariff has caused consternation within the industry, still in its infancy and reliant on the tariff for log term viability. Chris Huhne, Secretary of the Department of Energy and Climate Change made the announcement this week that the FIT would be reviewed in light of the “threat” to the scheme posed by large scale solar projects which have begun to take advantage of the scheme. This combined with the recent spending review which will make it necessary to cut 10 per cent from the tariff rates.

The feed-in tariff was introduced as a means of attracting investment in solar energy and greatly increasing uptake in solar pv panels in the UK. The tariff works by offering guaranteed, premium rates for units of energy both consumed and fed back into the grid for small scale renewable energy producers. This tariff has been very successful at attracting investors and manufacturers alike, all keen to tap into the revenue which can be generated from the feed-in tariff. However, Huhne believes that the feed-in tariff has perhaps been too attractive with a number of large solar farms developing under the system. The DECC secretary stated,

“Since the Spending Review, I have become increasingly concerned about the prospect of large scale solar PV projects under FITs, which . . . could, if left unchecked, take a disproportionate amount of available funding or even break the cap on total funding,”

Solar Trade Association spokesman, Howard Johns lamented this news saying,

This is really bad news for the solar industry in the UK. Last week Ministers welcomed the study showing that 17,000 jobs would be created by the industry in 2011. This week has seen them once again changing the goal posts and threatening investment and jobs in the sector.”