The law firm behind the recent High Court victory for 14 solar companies claiming £132 million in damages from the government has said DECC’s decision to appeal the ruling is “extremely unfortunate”.
Speaking to Solar Power Portal, a spokesperson from Prospect Law said that the department’s decision will only serve to delay the process, preventing the solar industry from drawing a line under the whole affair.
The spokesperson said: “This is not unexpected but we do feel the judgement is extremely robust. We don’t believe that DECC will succeed in an appeal and we will obviously contest that.
“What we want to do as an industry is draw line under this. It would be extremely unfortunate if DECC do what they did in the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and drag out this process.”
Responding to the judge’s ruling, DECC said that it was “unhappy” about the judgement and would appeal it. A spokesperson told Solar Power Portal: “We believed we were proposing lawful changes to subsidies, which would protect consumers from rising bills at a time when windfall profits meant the industry was booming.”
Asked whether yesterday’s decision could open the floodgates for more damage claims from the solar industry, Propect Law explained that companies can only claim under certain circumstances which would be assessed on a case by case basis, as a result the company does not predict a huge surge in new claims.
The law firm also noted that the exact size of damages due for each company is yet to be decided. Prospect Law has said that it will try and seek a settlement with DECC but, failing that, the size of damages could be decided through an arbitration process.
“The FiTs scheme is designed to give industry and consumers certainty. By behaving as it did DECC removed that certainty. The court has said you can’t do that,” added Prospect Law’s spokesperson.
“What we have here is confirmation from the courts again that if the government tries to remove the inherent certainty of the FiTs scheme, that is unlawful and the damage that causes should be compensated. The UK solar industry is desperate to learn the lessons from this experience and move on.”
Additional reporting by John Parnell