Saturday 22nd October 2016                 Change text size:

Government loses solar subsidies court appeal

Government loses solar subsidies court appeal

The Court of Appeal has rejected the Government’s attempt to overturn the High Court ruling that rushing through the solar panel subsidies was “legally flawed”. Charlotte Reid has more.

Three court of appeal judges have unanimously rejected the Government’s appeal against the High Court’s ruling that cuts to solar panel subsidies were illegal.

However, energy and climate change secretary, Chris Huhne, says the Government disagrees with the judgement and are “seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court”.

He said he wants to “maximise the number of installations” but in a way that is “possible within the available budget rather than use available money to pay a higher tariff to half the number of installations”.

He added, “Solar PV can have strong and vibrant future in the UK and we want a lasting FITs scheme to support that future and jobs in the industry”.

There has been a great deal of uncertainty in the industry since the Government announced cuts to the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme last year. Then Friends of the Earth decided to take the Government to court over its decision. This led to the cuts in solar panel subsidies being called “legally flawed” by the High Court. The case then returned to the courts when the Government decided to appeal against the High Court’s decision.

Last week the Government took precautions in case they lost their appeal. So it was decided that the Government will now fund the higher rate payment for any panels installed by March 3rd.

Juliet Davenport, CEO of 100% renewable energy supplier, Good Energy, said, “The Government’s decision to provide a replacement deadline on March 3rd at least means we know what tariff projects registered before April 1st will get – and will probably result in another mini-goldrush in the next few weeks.  

“But we still don’t know what support projects registered after April 1st will receive.”

Davenport added, “The credibility of the way the FIT budget is set has been seriously damaged, and the Government must reform the tariff to prevent this boom-and-bust situation from happening again”.  

“FIT is a great way to give people more control of their energy bills, so it’s no surprise that the scheme has been popular- it should not be a victim of its own success.”

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”.

Atkins says the Government should now “take steps to safeguard the UK’s solar industry and the 29,000 jobs still facing the chop”.
Atkins says the FIT scheme helps “more people to plug into clean British energy will help protect cash-strapped households from soaring fuel bills”. If you want to find out more about solar panels and renewable energy then contact Good Energy.

But there are many more opportunities available to invest in sustainable and environmentally friendly companies. Talk to your IFA to find out more. If you don’t have one, fill on our online form and we’ll put you in touch with a specialist ethical adviser.

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