Back in November last year the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, met with members of the UK solar industry to discuss the future of feed-in tariffs. At the time, the Minister announced plans to follow the German tariff degression model as part of the second consultation on reforms to the scheme. DECC now intends to announce the outcome of this consultation by February 9, in time for any resulting legislative changes to come into effect from April 1, 2012.

It is hoped that DECC’s Phase 2 proposals will map out exactly what to expect from March 31 until the end of the current spending envelope. Subsequently, solar businesses working in the UK market will be able to form their strategies in advance, as opposed to suffering the six-week notice periods they have been forced to work with in the past.

“We intend to announce the results of the solar consultation by February 9,” said a DECC spokesperson. “At the same time we'll also put forward proposals to introduce a cost control mechanism for solar PV to help provide long-term certainty for the industry.”

The German degression mechanism works by re-evaluating feed-in tariff rates every six months according to market conditions, tracking and encourage technological cost reductions, such as module prices. This model is expected to preserve the feed-in tariff budget as well as providing more clarity over cuts to feed-in tariff payments.

The UK solar industry is currently facing a period of uncertainty as the legal battle delays news of the feed-in tariff rates to be paid to eligible systems installed between December 12, 2011 and April 1, 2012.

DECC has not yet lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court regarding a High Court and ensuing Appeal Court ruling that said changes to the feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme proposed by Government are unlawful.