Plans by the Government to cut solar feed-in tariff payments are illegal the High Court has ruled, following a legal challenge.
Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth, which brought the challenge alongside two solar firms, says it will be pressing the Government to come up with new proposals permitting solar payments to fall in line with reduced installation costs.
In November, the Government announced it was bringing forward the date for its reduction in feed-in tariffs to December 12, 2011, rather than in April 2012 as previously planned and 11 days before the consultation ended on December 23. Friends of the Earth argued this change with little notice was unlawful.
Under the proposals PV units installed post December 12, 2011 receive reduced FIT payments. For new residential units up to the 4kW band the rate was reduced from 43.3p per kWh to 21.0p per kWh. The proposals lead to some EIS and VCTs withdrawing offerings or considering changes to product mandates.
Friends of the Earth is also calling for more Government money to encourage installations, the removal of planning restrictions and support for community-owned schemes.
Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, says: “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.”
He adds: “Solar payments should fall in line with falling installation costs but the speed of the Government’s proposals threatened to devastate the entire industry.”