This morning we published news outlining that three Appeal Court judges upheld the High Court findings that Government’s 12/12 deadline was unlawful. At the time, it was unclear whether DECC had actually been granted an appeal. We can now clarify that an appeal was granted, yet DECC lost its case.

What does this mean?

• The proposal to reduce tariff rates for systems fitted after December 12, 2011 is illegal

• Feed-in tariffs will go back to the higher rates until March 3 – all systems completed after this date will receive the reduced tariffs from April 1, 2012

Government can now take its case to the Supreme Court (even though it lost at the Court of Appeal). This casts yet more uncertainty for installations completed between December 12, 2011 and March 3, 2012 because it is not yet clear whether the Government will in fact launch another appeal. However, it is thought that Government has already formally asked the Appeal Court for permission to take this matter to the Supreme Court.

DECC has confirmed that the minimum tariff will be 21p for those installing during this period. If Government decides not to appeal (or if it loses its appeal) then these installations will get the higher rates until March 3 for the full 25 years. Anything installed after this point will receive the reduced tariffs from April 1. 

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said:

“The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court ruling on FiTs albeit on different grounds. We disagree and are seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“We have already put before Parliament changes to the regulations that will bring a 21p rate into effect from April for solar PV installations from March 3 to help reduce the pressure on the budget and provide as much certainty as we can for consumers and industry.

“We want to maximise the number of installations that are possible within the available budget rather than use available money to pay a higher tariff to half the number of installations. Solar PV can have strong and vibrant future in UK and we want a lasting FiTs scheme to support that future and jobs in the industry.”

The Appeal Court judges will make a decision on whether to grant permission in the next few days; if it is granted, the case can go to the Supreme Court. If permission is refused, Government would still have the fall-back option of applying to the Supreme Court itself for permission to appeal.

Industry is currently urging Government not to appeal to the Supreme Court as this is likely to prolong the uncertainty and means that the 43p rate could be cancelled out yet again. The full Court of Appeal Judgement can be read here.

You can hear directly from DECC, Ray Noble, Cathy Debenham and other industry figures at the Solar Power UK Roadshow : Coping with the Cuts coming to a city near you in February and March this year.