Since the launch of the fast-track feed-in tariff review I have had several meetings with fairly disgruntled industry members. Most of these gatherings however, have been constructive, and none more so than this morning’s get-together with local authority members at Eversheds in London.

In total 23 constituents sat down to talk through what each local authority’s response to the fast track review was, and how it would affect each area of the country’s council plans. These comments would then be assembled in order to send a reaction to the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) in relation to the proposed feed-in tariff cuts.

Leading the discussions was Stephen Cirell, an independent consultant specialising in renewable energy and low carbon projects, who was joined by Ray Noble, PV Specialist at the Renewable Energy Association.

Given that most of the recent feed-in tariff considerations have been from the private sector or investor standpoint, this debate was designed to consider the position of local authorities and other public sector bodies. The meeting opened with a focus on the current situation in the UK, outlining recent developments in the solar industry in order to ensure everyone was up-to-speed with policy adjustments.

Areas explored during the three hour discussion included the difference between public and private solar energy projects, how these projects can be financed, what impact the review will have on local councils and what kind of response was needed in order to get the message through to DECC that by cutting the feed-in tariff by such a huge amount Government threatens a very unique kind of installation.

Several local authority responses were thrashed out, with suggestions including a different tariff banding for public sector projects, as they have different goals for their schemes (including community leadership, effectiveness and efficiency; gains to the local economy and supply chain and energy security); allowances for social housing projects; solutions for problems such as fuel poverty and more.

Stephen Cirell will now gather all comments in order collate a response to send to the DECC. The deadline for reactions to the fast-track feed-in tariff review is May 6, 2011.